Northeast Tarrant

Lady Panthers use bye week for self-assessment

The bye during the district season is luck of the draw. For Colleyville Heritage, it could not have come at a more perfect time.

The Lady Panthers (17-19, 4-2 in District 7-6A) came off a difficult three-set loss to Carroll on Sept. 29 but then used Friday’s free day to evaluate themselves rather than looking ahead to this week’s opponents in Richland and Haltom.

Sometimes, self-evaluation can help a lot more as a team tries to take the next the step. Colleyville Heritage has positioned itself to make a playoff run.

“We took some time to get right and grade ourselves,” head coach Hollie Huston said. “We’ve had some sloppy things that we have to work on. This team has to correct it. The timing for this bye couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Sometimes, you can’t get it going until you really look at things. What we had to do is make sure these habits won’t be something we keep for the rest of the season.”

Huston said one of the flaws was a tendency to reach back and not adjust to sets. That made for errant kills. Consistent contact was a problem. Huston said the team cannot afford to do that regardless of the opponent, especially should it reach the postseason. If the playoffs were to start this week, Colleyville Heritage would be the third seed.

Tinkering with Ticknor

Junior outside hitter Tatum Ticknor, who returned two weeks ago from a sprained ankle, has remained in the back row … for the most part.

There was a short time when Huston used the Arkansas State verbal commit as an outside hitter. However, it was more of a necessity. Huston put her in a 5-1 because she was using a setter.

“It was just a spot thing, but it’s not something that’s going to continue,” Huston said. “We just needed her with a block and maybe come up with a tip. Tatum really reads the court well.”

Moving forward, Huston wants to see more consistency from sophomore Lauren Evans. She also wants to see senior middle blocker Allison Jackson take another step forward. Jackson returned to the team about a month ago and should be fresh.

Grapevine update

As expected, the Lady Mustangs cruised through the first half of District 6-5A play undefeated (22-16, 6-0) after finishing off Fort Worth’s Carter-Riverside and Poly last week.

While there wasn’t much of a challenge, the Lady Mustangs strive for consistency, head coach Kori Cooper said.

“I think that they’re really embracing not being complacent,” Cooper said. “I told them that there’s two ways this can go. Teams can either get better or get worse. We just continue to talk about things that caused those movements to get better.”

Grapevine played at Birdville on Tuesday and then hosts Fort Worth Dunbar on Friday. The Lady Mustangs can clinch a playoff berth as early as Friday if they win both matches and fourth place Eastern Hills loses to Fort Worth Dunbar on Tuesday. At worst, Grapevine can clinch a tie for a playoff berth.