Mansfield's Molly Phillips shines for team USA
Mansfield’s Molly Phillips has had a summer to remember.
Phillips, a 2019 middle blocker and outside hitter, was the lone representative from Dallas-Fort Worth on the U.S. Women’s Junior national volleyball team.
“The experience was amazing,” the Texas commit said.
Phillips led the team with a game-high 13 kills as the U.S. swept the Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-11, 25-20 in the gold medal match on Saturday in Aguascalientes, Mexico to win the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship. The team trained in Colorado Springs.
The U.S. earned a qualification into the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship with the win.
“Playing internationally is a whole new world and I loved the fast pace of the game," Phillips said. "It has helped me learn how to play through adversity and get way out of my comfort zone.”
“It was amazing,” she said. “The U.S. played the Dominican Republic in the same tournament two years ago and lost so it was sort of redemption this year. Everyone was so zoned in and we just played U.S.A volleyball. Our game plan was to focus on their big outside hitter so my number one goal was to block her kill attempts. Our team did a great job of shutting her down during that game.”
The District 4-6A Hitter of the Year tried out for the team and was one of 12 athletes on the U.S. roster. She was one of three from the state (Anita Anwusi, Houston; Skylar Fields, Missouri City).
Washington head coach Keegan Cook led the coaching staff.
“It was an amazing opportunity to be coached at such a high level and to receive coaching from so many different highly experienced teachers,” Phillips said. “I also loved the high level of play that every single player brought to the court. It was awesome to have such great energy all the time.”
Phillips said she’s done with Team U.S.A. this summer and is back home. She heads for Detroit this weekend to compete in a volleyball national tournament for her club team, Texas Image. She was on the youth national training team two years ago and will try for the U.S. team again next summer.
Phillips was a Star-Telegram player of the year candidate last season. She also was an all-state selection by the Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches after recording 655 kills, 272 digs, 89 blocks, 61 aces and a .326 hitting percentage. She had double-digit kills in 34 games with 20 or more 12 times.
“The 2018 season is looking good for Mansfield volleyball,” Phillips said. “We have a talented group of upperclassmen and a lot of young kids that we’re looking forward to joining the team. I think our best quality is going to be how hard we all work together – that will serve us well in the long run.”
The Tigers finished second in district last season and went to the area round of the playoffs – a first since 2014.