Northeast Tarrant

Lady Panthers make a statement

Make no mistake. Colleyville Heritage delivered a statement in its four-set victory over Carroll on Sept. 30.

After dropping the first set, the Lady Panthers (26-9, 6-0 in District 7-6A) won the final three games in Carroll’s building. Colleyville Heritage won it, 22-25, 27-25, 25-21 and 25-17. While sole possession of first place was at stake, coach Jamie Siegel said her team continued to stay in the moment. The ability to maintain focus and treat Carroll like any other match played a role for this group’s ability to rally.

“It was a lot of good execution of the game plan and going through with a very businesslike manner,” Siegel said. “They were very calm and ready to play. Obviously, they were excited about it. But they have this calmness to them that’s really reassuring.”

And perhaps that made the difference in the team overcoming a poor passing night. Siegel said the team’s passing rating from the match was 1.99. Anything above 2.3 is considered very efficient.

But when the Lady Panthers were executing their offense and setter Alex Janak was effective setting up the front line (59 assists), it worked really well for the likes of Maddie Jones and Anna Walsh. Walsh had 19 kills. Jones had 18. The rest of the team had 26.

“Alex made really made smart decisions on who to set up, so it was a solid effort there,” Siegel said. “What I liked about our team is that they talked the next day about not settling after that win. There’s a lot left to play for.

“We say it over and over again about going point to point. They know anything can happen. So the question is how they respond to it. All they have to do is maintain focusing on what we do.”

Indeed, the Lady Panthers – they were off last Friday – began the second half of the district season on Tuesday at Richland and then play host to Haltom on Thursday.

Goodwin consistent

Junior libero Rachel Goodwin continues to be a stabilizing factor for the defense. Against Carroll, she had 30 successful serve receives against only four errors and added 22 digs.

In other words, that’s pretty rock-solid. For the season, she’s averaging 9.6 digs and 10 successful serve receives per match. That’s nearly 20 plays where Goodwin is keeping rallies alive and changing lost points into potential winners. Her growth into the position has been exactly what Siegel wanted.

“She’s very much a vocal leader and been very aggressive defensively,” Siegel said. “She’s just stepped up from last year.”

Grapevine update

The Lady Mustangs (24-12, 6-0 in District 6-5A) took control of the district race with two expected dominant wins over Fort Worth Carter-Riverside and Fort Worth Poly.

In this new district, there are going to be matches where the Lady Mustangs will have the superior talent advantage. So sometimes, it’s a challenge to maintain focus.

“We tried to make practice competitive and score on drill,” coach Kori Cooper said. “We have a sense of urgency every time we take the court.”

Grapevine began the second half of district play on Tuesday against Birdville and plays at Fort Worth Dunbar on Friday.

Cooper made one defensive switch when she moved when Nicole Taake from libero to defensive specialist and sophomore Madi Lawlor was inserted at libero. The move is into its second week. So far, Cooper likes the results.