Category: Volleyball

BIG COUNTRY PREPS 2020 MAX EFFORT TEAM: The hardest-working volleyball players in the Big Country

Our All-Big Country Preps Volleyball team, released today, is in place to honor those who achieved the most on-court success in 2020. It is off the court, however, where character, grit and work ethic are often measured. And it is with our Big Country Preps Max Effort Team that we wish to honor those players who were the hardest-working, best teammates in the area this fall. 

This team isn’t about who the best volleyball players were.

The Max Effort team honors hustle, discipline, toughness, coachability and selflessness — traits that coaches wish every player had.

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GAME RECAP: Cooper volleyball sees season end with loss to Canyon Randall

LUBBOCK — The Cooper volleyball team saw its playoff run and season come to an end Friday night, falling 25-13, 21-25, 25-18, 25-20 to Canyon Randall in a third-round match at Coronado High School.

The Lady Cougars, who were coming off their first two playoff victories since 2002, couldn’t extend their run against the defending Class 5A runner-up Lady Raiders, who also ended Wylie’s season in the opening round of the postseason.

With the loss, Cooper closed its season at 14-10.

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GAME RECAP: Cooper volleyball sweeps Horizon to earn third-round match with Randall

MONAHANS — Fresh off their first playoff win in 18 years, the Cooper volleyball team is on a roll.

The Lady Cougars followed a four-set bi-district win over Amarillo Tascosa on Friday with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-21 sweep of El Paso Horizon in the area round on Tuesday to earn a third-round match against state power Canyon Randall later this week.

It was the fourth win in a row for Cooper, which will take a 14-9 record into its match with the Lady Raiders, who edged Wylie 19-25, 25-19 25-19, 18-25, 17-15 in their playoff opener last week.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cisco’s Long takes this week’s award

Cisco quarterback Hunter Long is only a sophomore. And he made his share of sophomore mistakes against an early-season schedule that featured 3A DI powerhouses from Wall and Jim Ned. 

Maturity, however, is beginning to catch up with the CHS signal caller, who has gradually developed into one of the top Class 2A weapons in the Big Country. 

His latest effort typified his development — passing for 210 yards and rushing for 101 in a 46-15 area round rout of Olton. 

Along the way, Long accounted for five Cisco touchdowns, rushing for three and passing for two more to help push the Loboes into the regional semifinals. 

It also earned him our Capital Farm Credit/BCP Player of the Week award for the week ending Nov. 21.

“Hunter played a great game,” Cisco coach Kevin Stennett said. “He is getting better every week and his execution of our offense has been outstanding during the playoffs. He made very few mistakes, if any, against Olton and has really emerged as the leader of our offense.”

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LOCAL VOLLEYBALL ROUNDUP: Cooper wins first playoff match since 2002, Wylie falls in five

The Cooper volleyball team claimed its first playoff victory in almost two decades Friday, topping Amarillo Tascosa 25-13, 25-23, 17-25, 25-23 to advance to the area round, where the Lady Cougars will take on the winner of El Paso Horizon and El Paso Jefferson at a time and site to be determined.

The victory, Cooper’s first in a playoff match since 2002, improved the Lady Coogs to 13-9 on the year and sends coach Nora Campbell’s team into the area round on a three-match winning streak.

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GAME STORY: Albany’s dream season finally ends with loss to Crawford in 2A state semifinals

By Seth LaRue (special to Big Country Preps)

WEATHERFORD — Few playoff teams are allowed to enjoy happy endings and the Albany volleyball team wasn’t one of the exceptions in 2020.

Facing reigning Class 2A state champion Crawford in a  state semifinal matchup, the Lady Lions fell in straight sets 14-25, 11-25, and 14-25. 

“It was a great season, (The Lady Lions) haven’t been this far since 2008. We were going to feel sad whatever round we lost at and we are thankful that we made it to the state semifinals.” Albany coach MJ Reneau said at the conclusion of their game at Weatherford High School. 

The Lions were forced into an early hole in the first set by an aggressive Crawford team led by Junior Katie Warden. Down 6-12, the Pirates went on a 13-8 run to secure their advantage and eventually, the set.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Albany’s Cotter takes award with two dominating efforts

One dominating performance deserves another. 

Having already helped Albany reach the Region I-2A finals with a 17-kill performance in a win over Plains (22-25, 25-10, 25-22, 25-16) last week, Sarah Beth Cotter wasn’t finished. 

With AHS facing perennial power Wink in the regional finals Saturday in Big Spring, she helped the Lady Lions reach the state semis with 16 kills, two blocks, four digs and an ace in a stunning 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of the Lady Cats. 

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GAME STORY: Albany eliminates Wink in three straight games to capture Region I title

BIG SPRING — Prior to Saturday’s Region I-2A championship match with Wink, Albany volleyball coach M.J. Reneau knew her team had an advantage up front over WHS. The key to winning would be in consistently getting an attack set up, without letting postseason nerves lead to too many mistakes. 

Mission accomplished. 

The Lady Lions held their unforced errors in check, dominated the net and swept Wink in three games, 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 at Big Spring High School. 

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GAME STORY: Wylie volleyball locks up No. 2 seed with sweep of Lubbock High

The Wylie volleyball team took care of Lubbock High quickly and easily Tuesday, sweeping the Lady Westerners 25-15, 25-8, 25-11 at Bulldog Gym to clinch the No. 2 playoff seed out of District 4-5A.

Improving to 12-5 overall and 7-2 in league play with the victory, the Lady Bulldogs locked up the runner-up spot behind league champion Lubbock Cooper when Abilene Cooper fell in four games to Lubbock Coronado across town.

Wylie’s win over Lubbock High marked the fifth victory in six matches for the Lady Bulldogs, who will wrap up the regular season Friday when they take rival Cooper at Cougar Gym in a match that would have determined the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds out of 4-5A had the Lady Cougars defeated the Lady Mustangs. Instead, coach Shay Cox’s team locked up the No. 2 spot, avoiding a bi-district playoff match with region powers Amarillo High and Canyon Randall. 

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sanchez takes award with unbelievable game

Every few years, someone will deliver a performance that goes beyond exceptional, great, unbelievable or whatever adjective you choose to attach to it.

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FEATURE: Elder, Coleman athletes learning to deal with the bad news

Johnny Elder

COLEMAN — Its football team was enjoying its best campaign in five years. It’s volleyball team was in the playoffs. It’s girls cross country team and two boys runners, were headed to the regional meet. Yet now, due to spike in COVID-19, Coleman High School has been forced to move to virtual learning until after Thanksgiving. 

As a result, all of its extracurricular activities have been halted, putting an end to some notable athletic success for its fall sports lineup. 

No football. No volleyball. No cross country. No band. 

“My heart goes out to them,” Coleman AD-football coach Johnny Elder said. “I can imagine how they feel with all the dedication they’ve put into this program over the last three years and to not get to reap the reward of the Texas high school playoffs, which in our business is the greatest thing to do. 

“I can’t express enough sorrow for them, our fans, our supporters and our parents. It’s just devastating to us. It’s not the way you picture anything ending. …It’s a helpless feeling to not be in control of your own destiny.”

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Cooper star Garcia nabs award with five-TD game

Over his time at Cooper, big numbers have become the norm for standout back Noah Garcia. The senior is, after all the Cougars’ all-time leading rusher with more 4,500 yards and 55 touchdowns to his credit.

But Friday’s performance in a 48-0 road win over Fort Worth Arlington Heights was noteworthy even by his standards.

In rushing for 172 yards and four touchdowns and adding a 48-yard touchdown reception in just over three quarters of action, Garcia accounted for 30 of his team’s 48 points. 

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GAME STORY: Wylie volleyball outlasts Cooper in five-set thriller

Facing Cooper at home for sole possession of second place in the District 4-5A standings, the Wylie volleyball team used a fast start and strong finish Wednesday to escape Bulldog Gym with a thrilling  25-13, 25-18, 18-25, 25-27, 15-11 victory.

In a match that was postponed a day by the Tuesday’s ice storm, the Lady Bulldogs (9-4 overall) held off a furious Lady Cougar rally to close out the first round of district play at 4-1 a stay within a match of district leader Lubbock Cooper (10-6, 5-0).

They pushed the Lady Coogs, meanwhile, into third place at 9-6 overall and 3-2 in a league play — a match ahead of fourth-place Lubbock Coronado.

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GAME STORY: AHS volleyball comes up aces in win over Odessa High

The Abilene High and Odessa High volleyball teams have fought through adversity all season long and both returned to action on Wednesday night at Eagle Gym in search of a momentum-generating District 2-6A win to get in the playoff hunt.

AHS, which just ended a two-week quarantine, started off a brutal four-match stretch with a much needed 25-16, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19 win to move to fifth place in the district standings at 2-3.

Wednesday night’s win, coupled with San Angelo Central’s four-set win over Odessa Permian, leaves the Lady Eagles a game behind Central in the district standings.

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FEATURE: Shift to the outside proving to be a good move for Withers, Stephenville

Photos courtesy of Stephenville High School 

Stephenville’s volleyball team took a major step forward by sweeping Brownwood on Friday night.  

The 16th-ranked Honey Bees not only avenged their only district defeat, but also accomplished one of their goals in winning the 6-4A title.  

Landri Withers has been an integral part of Stephenville’s success once again in 2020, but this time the junior has been making the biggest impact as an outside hitter.  

Stephenville coach Shay Douglas said she changed her standout player’s role for multiple reasons that are beneficial both now and in the future.

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: San Saba QB snags this week’s top spot

San Saba quarterback Risien Shahan may have set an unconfirmed record on Friday — capturing the Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week Award with only 10 touches in a 47-0 win over De Leon. 

Rushing five times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, the senior quarterback had a 3-of-5 night passing for 193 more yards and two additional scores. That’s 478 yards and five TDs in total offense in only 10 plays that saw him running or throwing. 

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GAME STORY: Coleman sweeps Zephyr behind Allen

Coleman continued its rampage in District 8-2A Tuesday night, beating Zephyr 25-13, 25-16, 25-11 to secure the Co-District championship at the Coleman Gym.

Abbi Allen had eight kills and Aislyn Cox charted two kills and two aces to lead the Bluekatts, who improved their record to 16-7 on the season and 13-2 in district. 

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GAME STORY: Lubbock Cooper claims 4-5A lead with sweep of Wylie

Wylie volleyball coach Shay Cox has plenty of experience leading teams in multiple sports — including a lengthy tenure as the softball coach at Abilene High.

On Tuesday night, Cox saw her volleyball squad struggle on the second service rotation in each set — much as a pitcher might do on the diamond — as the Lady Bulldogs were swept by Lubbock Cooper 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 in District 4-5A play at Bulldog Gymnasium.

The win allowed the Lady Pirates to take sole possession of the district lead at 3-0 while Wylie fell into a second place tie with city rival Cooper and Lubbock Coronado at 2-1.

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GAME STORY: Cooper volleyball scores workmanlike sweep of Lubbock High

The Cooper volleyball team took care of business Tuesday, cruising to a workmanlike 25-19, 25-14, 15-17 sweep of Lubbock High at Cougar Gym.

Needing a win to stay within a match of Tuesday’s Lubbock Cooper-Wylie winner in the District 4-5A standings, the Lady Cougars took control early and never relinquished it in improving to 8-5 overall and 2-1 in league play.

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Big Country Volleyball statistical leaders (Through Oct. 20)

Big Country Preps is publishing area volleyball statistical leaders each Tuesday at 7 p.m.

This database will be continually updated for our subscribers throughout the remainder of the season, using only those statistics submitted by area coaches.

Teams that send in their statistics after deadline will be added to the lists below as we continually update the database.

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FEATURE: New coach, new team, new challenges for Abilene High volleyball

Imagine taking over for a popular, 24-year head coach. Then imagine inheriting a young team that has started 3-6 overall and 1-3 in District 2-6A. Oh yeah, your team also is currently sitting out for a two-week COVID-19 quarantine.

If there’s a first-year head coach who can put those challenges in perspective, it might be Devron Shepherd, who was promoted to head volleyball coach at Abilene High in May after serving three seasons as an assistant for Didi Pierce. Pierce won more than 500 matches in 24 years as the Eagles’ head coach.

“Didi is a great lady,” Shepherd said this week. “She paved the way so that it wasn’t hard for me to take over. She was organized in terms of the program in place and supportive of me.”

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CAPITAL FARM CREDIT/BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Holsey takes the top spot with big night in Pecos

When I hear about someone having a direct hand in nine touchdowns, my first thought is: which six-man team does he play for?

But Sweetwater junior Leo Holsey managed it at the Class 4A level, on the road in a crucial 62-39 win at Pecos that clinched the District 1-4A DII championship. 

Is he our Capital Farm Credit/Big Country Preps Player of the Week?

Uh … yeah.

Holsey, who hit 11 of 15 throws for 283 yards and five touchdowns, was nearly as devastating with his feet, rushing for 233 yards and four more scores on only 11 carries. 

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