Category: Volleyball

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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GAME STORY: Bangs defeats Dublin in four sets (by Seth LaRue, special to Big Country Preps).

The Bangs Lady Dragons handily defeated Dublin Lady Tuesday night in four sets: 25-5, 14-25, 25-12, 25-19.

Skylar Hutchins, had 23 digs, with additional help from Halle Lance and Jacee Miller to lead Bangs. The Lady Dragons’ offensive front capitalized on the help, with a total of 29 kills as a team. 

 “My girls started out really strong and were ready to come out and beat Dublin.” Bangs coach Cheyanne Lovelady said. “They were indeed ready as some of the girls showed out in a big way tonight, most notably from the serve line.”

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FEATURE: Impact senior Warren out to finish Clyde career in style

Peyton Warren’s name is synonymous with Clyde volleyball.  

The Lady Bulldogs’ program began eight years ago. Warren, who’s finishing up a stellar senior season, has been starting for half of that stretch.   

As the curtain draws near on her final high school volleyball career, Warren admits there’s a different feeling now than in previous seasons. 

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Big Country Volleyball statistical leaders (through Oct. 13).

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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GAME STORY: Midland Lee sweeps Abilene High in 2-6A volleyball

Playing without first-year head coach Devron Shepherd, who missed the match for undisclosed reasons, the Abilene High volleyball team was swept by Midland Lee 25-18, 25-10, 25-13 in a District 2-6A matchTuesday at Eagle Gymnasium.

The Lady Eagles were able to trade shots early in each set with the Lady Rebels before Lee would come back with a quick run to take AHS out of the set.

AHS fell to 3-5 overall and 1-2 in district with the loss, while Lee improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in district.

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FEATURE: Wylie volleyball rebounds from COVID-19 quarantine

Photos courtesy of Kerr Broadstreet, WylieSports.com

A 5-1 start hardly tells the story of the Wylie volleyball season so far.

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, less than an hour before Wylie was scheduled to host Wichita Falls Rider and Midland High in a nondistrict dual match, the Lady Bulldogs were informed they had to be quarantined until further notice because of a positive COVID-19 test of two staff members within the program.

The Wylie varsity and two JV teams were exposed to the positive testers during a bus trip to play at Aledo on Sept. 19.

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FEATURE: Cooper seniors out to finish strong, set new standard for volleyball program

Jennika Willis always feels there’s a sense of urgency to win when she walks on the volleyball court.  

But like her fellow Cooper senior teammates, Willis recognizes the days of playing high school volleyball are dwindling.  

“It is our senior year, so we definitely want to be more dominant as a senior class,” Willis said. 

Willis and the Lady Cougars are off to a strong start in that respect, jumping out to a 5-3 mark entering Tuesday’s road match against Granbury. They only have one more week until District 4-5A action commences.  

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Oct. 5)

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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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eastland’s Behren Morton takes the top spot

Prior to the game, the numbers pointed to a track meet. But nobody was prepared for the more than 1,600 yards in combined total offense produced in last week’s 91-71 Eastland victory over Panhandle. 

It should come as no surprise that the Big Country Preps Player of the Week participated in this artillery barrage, disguised as a football game. 

Eastland senior Behren Morton earns the top spot, after hitting 22 of 32 throws for 405 yards and five touchdowns. The Texas Tech-bound QB also rushed nine times for 196 yards and three scores and was 12 of 13 on extra points. 

By night’s end, he had a direct hand in eight touchdowns and 60 points. And no, this was not a six-man football game. 

Continue reading “BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Eastland’s Behren Morton takes the top spot”

GAME STORY: De Leon dominates Zephyr in straight sets

By Seth LaRue (special to Big Country Preps)

The De Leon Lady Cats continued to roll through their opposition this week by taking down another district opponent, the Zephyr Lady Bulldogs, in straight sets, 25-14, 25-21, and 25-14. 

“We played a little rough,” De Leon coach Kinsey Garcia said. “It wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to go, but we started focusing on serves which helped us a bunch and we maintained our energy which was good and hopefully (we’d) just push more for the next game.” 

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GAME STORY: Clyde sweeps Jim Ned in District 6-3A volleyball tilt

CLYDE — The Clyde volleyball team picked up a big win on Tuesday night at Bulldog Gym, sweeping Jim Ned 25-13, 25-16, 25-16 to take the lead in District 6-3A.

The Lady Bulldogs got off to a quick start in each set, scoring at least the first three points of each one, and trailed for only a single point in the match (5-4 in the second set) as they improved to 13-6 on the year and 3-0 in league play.

Jim Ned, meanwhile, fell to 14-2 and 2-1 with the loss.

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Sept. 28)

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: Lightning-quick Benitez is one of Big Country’s top defenders

Photos courtesy of Kassi Westerman

Abby Benitez owns all the traits needed to excel at libero.

The Snyder junior is described as fearless and determined by her high school coach. She’s unbelievably quick and a 5-foot-1 ball of energy.   

“She doesn’t like to get beat on anything,” Snyder coach Mindi Bredemeyer said. “She’s definitely not a quitter, she doesn’t have it in her to quit at all.”  

It’s no fluke Benitez is one of the Big Country’s top defenders, averaging an area-best 5.8 digs per set. Her presence is needed even more this year after the Lady Tigers were hit hard by graduation.  

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FEATURE: Bluekatts, Allen grow into district leaders in three years

Photos courtesy of ColemanToday.com

Abbi Allen laughs when asked about her initial motivation for joining the fledgling Coleman High School volleyball program three years ago. After all, she had played basketball since age 7 and already was an accomplished player. Why try a new sport you’ve never played?

“If you want to know the truth, if you don’t play volleyball at Coleman in the fall, you have to run cross country. And cross country just isn’t my cup of tea,” said Allen, now a third-year starter for the Coleman Bluekatts volleyball team.

“I always thought volleyball could be fun, and it has been. So that made it like a double bonus.”

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GAME STORY: Bangs rallies to top rival Early in five sets

The Bangs Lady Dragons narrowly defeat the Early Lady Horns on Tuesday as the local rivalry ignited for the first time this season. 

The Lady Dragons notch their second district win, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-16, 15-5 in a late comeback.

 “I am so proud of the girls, they got stuck in the third set, down by eight points and they fought, coming within two points of the win,” Bangs coach Cheyanne Lovelady said. “It just impresses me to see a team that doesn’t fold when competition gets heated.”

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GAME STORY: Senior-led Cooper volleyball team sweeps rival Abilene High

 The senior-laden Cooper volleyball team showed its maturity Tuesday, sweeping crosstown rival Abilene High on its home floor to stay perfect at 4-0.

The Lady Cougars, who have yet to drop a set this season, got off a to a dominant start, winning Game 1 by a 25-9 margin before grinding out a couple of 25-23 wins in the final two games to close out the match in three.

After being overwhelmed in the early going, the much younger Lady Eagles (1-3) rebounded to challenge CHS, but each time the Lady Coogs needed a point, they got it — a trend coach Nora Campbell attributed to her team’s experience.

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FEATURE: Stephenville’s Matthews has worked her way into being one of the area’s top players

From the moment she showed up at Stephenville last year, Jaylee Matthews hasn’t shied away from putting in work.

As a then-sophomore moving from Seminole, Matthews knew the Honeybees’ program was steeped in tradition. Floor time would be earned, not given.   

“I showed up every day and worked hard to prove myself,” Matthews recalled. “I would say I fit in pretty good with the team now, and these girls have become some of my best friends.”  

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FEATURE: From a novice to a natural: Clyde’s Underwood never comes off the volleyball court

Photos by Stan West, Rachel Laughlin and Toni Brockway

Liz Underwood was focused on basketball as a sixth-grader at Clyde. That is, until new Clyde High School volleyball coach Laura Carr asked her to join a traveling club team.

“She wanted to play on a traveling volleyball team with girls in the grade above me,” Underwood said. “She said she needed a middle blocker. I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t even know what a middle blocker is.’ But she’s the coach, and she asked me so I said, ‘Yes.’ ”

At her first practice, Underwood realized that volleyball was truly a team sport in which players relied on each other’s skills.

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Sept. 21)

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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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Snyder defensive specialist snags this week’s award

Benitez photo courtesy of Kassi Westermann

While a libero seldom gets as much attention as volleyball’s glamour positions up front, there are times when these defensive specialists make themselves so valuable they can’t be ignored, even in a losing effort.

That was the case last week with Snyder junior Abby Benitez in a pair of dual matches against Monahans and Odessa Permian on Tuesday, followed by another against Jim Ned and Denver City on Saturday.  The Lady Tigers didn’t register a single win, but Benitez’s hustle was astonishing enough to earn her our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for  the week ending Sept. 19.

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GAME STORY: Cooper volleyball sweeps scrappy Clyde squad to open season

Opening its season against a Clyde squad that already had 14 matches under its belt, the Cooper volleyball team was tested early in Tuesday’s nondistrict showdown at Cougar Gym.

But the veteran Lady Cougars proved up to the challenge in a 25-23, 25-21, 25-13 sweep of the Lady Bulldogs.

Ending a long wait after the start its season was delayed a month by COVID-19, Cooper shook off any ring rust quickly, finding its offensive rhythm in the Game 3 to put the match away in style.

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FEATURE: Sweetwater volleyball odyssey beyond Bell’s experience

Although only in her second year at Sweetwater, Mitzi Bell has been coaching volleyball for almost a quarter century.  

However, no previous experience could have prepared her for what has been a rollercoaster 2020 campaign. From impressive summer workout numbers to then losing senior setter Mia Valdez for extended time due to injury.  

From finally playing matches that count to having nine players quarantining after a positive COVID-19 case. From orchestrating sub-varsity workouts in separate gyms to Saturday when all the Lady Mustangs were finally on the same court. 

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Big Country Volleyball Statistical Leaders (through Sept. 14)

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 do not submit their statistics in a given week will not be listed when our stats are posted, but will be added to the lists below as they are received in the coming days. 

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GAME STORY: Dublin overwhelms Early Lady Horns in straight sets at start of district play 

By Seth LaRue (special to Big Country Preps)

The Dublin Lady Lions rebounded from two consecutive losses in pre-district play with a convincing defeat of the Early Lady Horns on Tuesday at the Early Longhorn Gym. 

The Lady Lions controlled the match from the onset with a first set win, 25-21, and never once lost stride. They proceeded to win the next two sets 25-20 and 25-22, respectively. 

Dublin Coach Kaitlyn Embry had nothing but praise for her varsity team saying, “They did such a good job. They pushed through, they never let up and it’s everything we really have been working hard for in preseason that actually showed up on the court tonight.”

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FEATURE: Bangs standout Jacee Miller cleared to return for Lady Dragons

Photo courtesy of Heather Nix Photography

Jacee Miller isn’t used to watching the action from afar.   

The Bangs junior is a four-sport standout who has been on varsity since she began high school. Miller never leaves the floor for the Lady Dragons’ volleyball team.  

But after snapping her fibula and tearing a ligament during a summer trip to the beach, the vocal Miller has been forced to do all her encouraging and observing from the sidelines.  

“It’s a very different perspective,” Miller said. “Watching my team grow and watching its up and downs has helped me see what I can do when I come back.”  

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