Keller made a late-season charge, including a win in a tiebreaker game, to take the top seed in District 3-6A volleyball as the playoffs begin this week.
The Lady Indians will be joined by Keller Central and Keller Fossil Ridge as the playoffs commence.
Justin Northwest and Trophy Club Nelson were also contenders as the playoffs began this week with the bi-district rounds on Tuesday and the second round quickly approaching on Friday.
Keller was to take on Arlington after taking they finished as co-champions with Weatherford. A seeding game was won by Keller on Friday, beating Weatherford in four games.
“The girls played well and together,” said Keller head coach Jamie Siegel of the win over Weatherford in taking the top seed from the Lady ‘Roos. “They executed the game plan and did a good job of it.”
With a win over Arlington in the bi-district game, the Lady Indians would take on the winner of San Angelo Central and Amarillo Tascosa.
Keller Central will go in as the third seed and Fossil Ridge fourth. The Lady Chargers were to take on Arlington Martin and Ridge the champion of District 4-6A, Fort Worth Paschal.
The opportunity for Keller to challenge for the top spot was made possible by Central’s five-game win over Weatherford last week in the final game of the regular season. Keller had added a loss to Weatherford’s record the previous Tuesday.
The win for Central undoubtedly provides momentum and provided a playoff-type atmosphere heading into the match with Martin.
“I’m pleased that we played as well as we did and fought to win the game,” said Central head coach Teri Kelso, adding that Weatherford had the incentive to play for a district title.
A win over Martin would send the Lady Chargers to a destination in West Texas to take on the winner of El Paso Coronado and Odessa Permian.
The push for their playoff spot was an achievement after a three-match losing streak was a wake-up call for the Lady Chargers, Kelso said.
Northwest, third place in District 6-5A, was taking on Wichita Falls Rider. A win in the match played in Gainesville would pit the Lady Texans against the winner of Colleyville Heritage or Fort Worth South Hills.
It’s a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2013 for Northwest.
“We feel like we’ve made adjustments and we’re playing harder and practices are good,” said Northwest head coach Jennifer Chandler.
In her first year at Northwest, Chandler said the environment at the school is helping create a culture of success in all the fall sports.
“The team has gotten acclimated to a new coach and they’ve bought in. They’re coachable and they’re getting an experience of success,” Chandler said.
Chandler noted that Camryn Berryhill has achieved the career kills record, while Analise Lucio will likely become the all-time school leader in assists.
Meanwhile, Ridge is playing an old Prince hit song, as they are playing like it’s 1999.
That was the last time the Lady Panthers made a playoff appearance, and head coach Hollie Huston noted many players hadn’t been born yet.
“We’re super-excited and little giddy,” Huston said.
The Lady Panthers have been receiving “bracketology” education from the staff to realize the matchups in the playoffs are ripe for at least a three-round ride.
“It’s not so far-fetched to go three rounds, and we just need to take advantage of every point like we’re supposed to to win. There’s no more underdog mentality,” Huston said.
If Ridge can pull off the win over Paschal, it will look to play the winner of El Paso Franklin and Midland this week.
Nelson was taking on Plano in the first-round match after finishing third in District 5-6A and would play in the next round with a win against either Killeen Ellison or South Grand Prairie.
The Lady Bobcats beat Flower Mound in their regular season finale to create a three-way tie for the fourth spot in the district.