Sports moments in 1999 included John Elway’s final NFL game as the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII; the San Antonio Spurs winning their first of five NBA Finals; Pete Sampras winning his sixth of seven Wimbledon championships; and the Keller Fossil Ridge volleyball team going to the playoffs.
That was the last time the Panthers did so - until Tuesday night when they defeated Timber Creek to clinch the final playoff spot in District 3-6A.
“The feeling was very overwhelming. The stakes were very high last night and we were in a do or die situation,” senior Hannah Grant said. “I feel that we all performed to our best of our abilities. We had a lot of energy and I feel that it helped our momentum to stay in the game.”
Head coach Hollie Huston is in her first year with the program after moving to Fossil Ridge from Colleyville Heritage.
“Coach Huston has believed in us since the first day she saw us. She saw great potential in all of the team,” Grant said. “Having her in the program this year really has made a difference and she's influenced and motivated everyone to believe in the program.”
The Paschal Panthers defeated Arlington in four sets to stay perfect in 4-6A at 12-0 and 29-7 overall.
With two games left, the Panthers clinched at least a share of the district title, the program’s first since 1991. Another win would clinch their first outright title since 1987 - the year head coach Tim Reimann was born.
“It's truly a special group of girls who believe in each other and in their coaching staff,” said Reimann, who’s in his first year at Paschal. “We talk about controlling things we can control, so we emphasize team chemistry, focus, and mental toughness daily, and it's just great to see the girls battle with such resilient effort throughout a tough district schedule.”
Riley Parker had 23 kills, 17 digs and four aces against Arlington. Katie Nance added 17 kills and six blocks, and Semira Blair had 47 assists. Abby Hyman had a team-high 20 digs.
Richland and Justin Northwest are also playoff bound after a short hiatus.
Northwest (8-4 in 6-5A) clinched the No. 3 seed with a 3-1 win over Haslet Eaton. Camryn Berryhill led with 18 kills and nine digs; Analise Lucio had 47 assists; Oakley O’Dell had 20 digs; Lexi Ihrig and Kori James added 12 and 10 digs; and Bailey Cagle had 15 kills and four blocks.
It’s the Texans first postseason trip since 2013. They will face either Wichita Falls Rider or Denton out of 5-5A. Bi-district is set for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
“With my experience on varsity and not making the playoffs, I don't think it has hit a lot of us yet that we're going to the playoffs,” the senior Cagle said.
Richland and Birdville are also going to the playoffs after wins over FW Eastern Hills and Carter-Riverside.
It’s Birdville’s fifth-straight postseason trip and 13th in 16 years. Richland is back for the first time since 2012.
FW Trimble Tech upset No. 21 Arlington Heights in straight sets to get within a game of first place with two games to go.
Arlington Heights (11-1 in 7-5A) could’ve wrapped up a share of the district title with a win, but now must hold off both Trimble Tech (10-2) and Western Hills (10-2).
South Hills also won and clinched the final spot in 7-5A, becoming the first volleyball team at the school to go to the playoffs three-consecutive years.
Down to the Wire
With two games left, there’s still plenty to be determined.
District 3-6A: All four teams have clinched, but no one has clinched a seed yet. Weatherford and Keller are fighting for first and second while it looks like Central and Fossil Ridge would be third and fourth. Central still has an outside shot at first, one game back of Keller for second and two back of Weatheford for first. Central plays Weatherford to end the season Oct. 25.
District 4-6A: Paschal is two games up in 4-6A while Martin (10-2), Lamar (9-3) and Arlington (8-3) are other playoff teams. Lamar is in for the 16th time in 17 years while Arlington will be making its 30th-straight postseason appearance.
District 5-6A: Southlake Carroll and defending 6A champ Hebron are tied for first at 11-1. Byron Nelson clinched the third spot, its sixth-straight berth in the program’s seven years. Euless Trinity (6-6) holds down fourth, but Flower Mound (5-7) and Marcus (5-7) still have a chance.
District 6-5A: Boswell and Aledo remained tied for the district lead at 11-1 while four teams can still grab the final playoff spot. Chisholm Trail and Saginaw are at 5-7, and Eaton and Brewer are 4-8. All three pairs have split the season series.
District 9-5A: Cleburne and Granury are also tied for first at 11-1 with the season series split. Burleson Centennial can still grab the No. 1 seed at 10-2 while Burleson has locked down the fourth seed and will face 10-5A champion Waxahachie in the first round.
District 10-5A: While Waxahachie has won its third-straight district title, four teams look for the final three spots. Red Oak and Lake Ridge are front runners at 8-4 while Legacy and Midlothian are each 7-5.
District 7-4A: Kennedale is another area team locked in a first-place tie. The Wildcats and Springtown are 9-1 with the season series split. Castleberry is also playoff bound and Mineral Wells looks to be the favorite to take fourth.
District 8-4A: With one more win, No. 2 Glen Rose (10-0) will win the outright district title. Stephenville is 9-2 and Godley (7-3) and Midlothian Heritage (6-4) are other playoff teams.
District Standings *Clinched Playoff Berth
Fossil Ridge 5-5*
Timber Creek 4-7
North Crowley 3-9
Sam Houston 0-12
Flower Mound 5-7
Chisholm Trail 5-7
Trimble Tech 10-2*
Western Hills 10-2*
South Hills 7-5*
North Side 3-9
Colleyville Heritage 12-0*
Eastern Hills 3-9
Red Oak 8-4
Lake Ridge 8-4
Mineral Wells 5-5
Lake Worth 2-8
Diamond Hill 1-9
Glen Rose 10-0*
Midlo Heritage 6-4*
Waxahachie Life 3-8