Northeast Tarrant

Lady Mustangs, Panthers forge on in playoffs

Grapevine’s first week in the Class 5A Region I volleyball playoffs included the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

The Lady Mustangs (32-13) swept their bi-district and area round playoff matchups with Azle and Burleson. However, the team lost senior right side Madison Trasher to an undisclosed injury for the remainder of the playoffs. Trasher was hurt in Friday’s practice.

That left first-year coach Kori Cooper to rearrange her team. As Grapevine prepared for Monday’s Class 5A Region I quarterfinal match with Granbury, senior Macey Maloney was moved from middle blocker to right side.

“We’re just going to see what Macey can give us on that side,” Cooper said before Monday’s match. “The good news is that she played a little bit there in the Burleson match. She’s also played it in club and trained there at the beginning of the year. So she’s familiar with it.”

Cooper spent the weekend making adjustments to the offense so the right side would not be considered a weakness. The natural thing for Granbury to try was to attack in that area. But the Grapevine offense has been pretty balanced thus far.

The game was played after the press deadline; see www.dfwvarsity.com for results.

“Taylor Kress, Payton Gidney and Mandi Lawler have really been productive all year and bring the kind of intensity you need in the playoffs,” Cooper said. “The defense and blocking has been great. We’re just going to have to rely on them to keep it going.”

The winner would advance to the 5A Region I tournament this Friday and Saturday in Abilene and play the winner of El Paso-Dumas in the semifinals.

Changing history

The Lady Mustangs are in a lower classification, but it’s the right fit. As a small then-Class 6A school, Grapevine would be up against numbers. While the program made the playoffs, the postseason didn’t last too long with the exception of the regional quarterfinal run in 2011.

“This is a group of girls who know they have an opportunity to shed that history,” Cooper said. “The run shows they had a goal to make a deep run but had to be mentally tough to do it.”

Cooper has been through these deep runs as a player at the high school and collegiate level. But this is her first time to navigate a team.

“It’s completely different because you’re coaching and preparing them,” Cooper said. “It’s a matter of surviving and advancing. And you just have to trust that they’ll execute.”

Colleyville Heritage update

Maybe the Lady Panthers enjoy the drama too much. Trailing two games to none in their Class 6A Region area playoff match at Flower Mound, this looked like the end.

But that’s when leadership shows its value. Colleyville Heritage (36-9) rallied to win the last three games to keep the season going. The Lady Panthers faced Hebron in the regional quarterfinals on Tuesday at Flower Mound Marcus. Those teams played on Sept. 9. Colleyville Heritage won in three.

“Flower Mound played great and got some great plays,” coach Jamie Siegel said. “But these girls refused to quit. We just kept it at one point and then the next. That’s all you can do. We passed the ball really well and did some things with our offense that helped us.”

Colleyville Heritage went through this Sept. 19 against Coppell. It dropped its first two games before staging the rally.

Siegel’s all-or-nothing approach

If you didn’t know, Siegel likes to risk it all when it comes to playoff matchup locations. She would prefer to flip home for home rather than play at a neutral site. It is definitely a high-risk, high-reward approach. If the opposing coach agrees, then Siegel either will have the home crowd with her or face a hostile environment. But she doesn’t see it that way, especially when she has an experienced group led by Maddie Jones, Alex Janak and Anna Walsh.

“It’s all about perspective,” she said. “I’m willing to risk it because I think it’s more normal when you’re playing a match at somebody’s place or yours and you know what you have to do to win or get through a tough environment. We had a great crowd for the Flower Mound game.”

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