The 2016 high school volleyball season for Northeast Tarrant County area teams finished up last week. The three remaining programs, Carroll, Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine, all advanced into the second week of the postseason but had their dreams of winning some hardware end.
Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage fell to Aledo and Saginaw Boswell respectively in the Class 5A Region I quarterfinals on Nov. 8. Carroll lost to arch rival and District 5-6A foe Lewisville Hebron in the Class 6A Region I final this past Saturday in a surprising sweep by the Lady Hawks. It was the fifth meeting between those two teams. Hebron is now chasing consecutive state titles.
This wrap up of the season is a synopsis of each of those teams and where they are headed for 2017. These assessments are courtesy of the head coaches.
Carroll Lady Dragons
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Head Coach: Ryan Mitchell
2016 record: 43-7
Key losses: OH Haley Hallgren, S Lisie Kitt, OH Lauren Johnson
What went well: A scrappy effort in the Region I semifinals against El Paso Coronado led to the sweep.
What led to the struggles: The Lady Dragons were not able to block balls all night and Hebron’s hitters became comfortable. As Mitchell said, it just wasn’t his team’s afternoon.
The offseason focus: It will be interesting for the Lady Dragons, who will be graduating nine seniors who helped this program go two rounds deeper than it did in 2015. The offseason is going to be about finding new pieces to add to a pretty good squad led by junior middle blocker Asjia O’Neal. Carroll’s junior varsity and freshman A teams won district, so this program won’t be short looking to fill positions.
Colleyville Heritage Lady Mustangs
Head Coach: Bri Barker-Groth
2016 record: 35-9
Key losses: OH Tatum Ticknor, OH Jordan Lackey
What went well: Continuing to play through moments of a match when everything wasn’t going well.
What led to struggles: The serve and pass games as well as earning points led to difficult moments. The team had too many unforced errors.
The offseason focus: There will be more of an emphasis of quickening up the offense and getting stronger at the net. There are several sophomores returning who should make an impact. The team will also welcome junior outside hitter Ashley McKillop, who missed the season with a torn ACL. McKillop suffered the injury in July.
Grapevine Lady Mustangs
Head Coach: Whitney Woody
2016 record: 33-15
Key losses: DS Madison Lawler, S Hannah Merrick, OH Jordan McCalla
What went well: After struggling early to find that something extra, this team learned how to produce that as the season grew older.
What led to struggles: There were too many times when the team would get off to a slow start.
The offseason focus: Several key players are returning and could be adding more to their games. Freshman middle blocker Savannah Kjolhede (6-2) should some major growth in 2017. There are a lot of returning players looking to keep the program’s success going.