The Sealy Lady Tigers have made the volleyball playoffs every year since 2012 but for the second year in a row had their postseason ended by the Caldwell Lady Hornets in the bi-district round.
On Monday evening the teams converged on Brenham High School for the second meeting of the 2019 campaign. In their first meeting, Caldwell took a 3-0 decision at Sealy High School on Aug. 20.
“I do think it helped (to see them in the regular season),” said Lady Tiger head coach Kim Boyd. “Last time we played them we didn’t have a fully healthy team so we were looking forward to having the rematch with them. Obviously, they’re a tough team so it wasn’t like we were thinking it was going to be a piece of cake but we definitely have the talent on the team to hang with pretty much anybody.”
The Lady Hornets checked in at No. 11 in the final Texas Girls Coaches Association poll after a 9-2 record within District 26-4A where they finished tied with Bellville for the top spot but fell in a tiebreaker game last week to create the second postseason meeting with Sealy in a row.
Although it was only a three-set match on Monday, Boyd was proud of the effort not only shown by the seniors in what served as their final match but the team as a whole following another slow start out of the gates.
“Very slow start which has been kind of a trend that we’ve had but they had a 9-point run at one time, they didn’t give up, we still had high-scoring sets,” Boyd said. “We had Ally (Dickens) go down in the second set early on and they didn’t shut down, they kept playing and they knew they wanted to do it for her also. She was even on the bench cheering as loud as she could.”
The head coach bids farewell to four senior players (Zoee Jeffrey, Reagan Newsome, Alexi Kulhanek and Haley Reese) who created a strong bond since Boyd took over a few years ago and worked closely with this group from the start.
“Like I told them at the end of the game, they did everything that I asked of them for the last three years, the only one I haven’t had is Haley and I think they proved the worth of our team,” said the coach.
“Some of them were injured or didn’t see as much playing time as others but they still came to practice and worked hard every day, led the team in different ways and it was great having them in our program.”
Taking an early peek at next year, she’ll return a strong junior class who has been playing meaningful sets and matches already.
“A lot of them play club, they’re taking private lessons, they’re getting extra work in the weight room; they know that day one of next season starts today (Tuesday),” Boyd said. “We don’t take time off because we know we are able to be at a better result next year if we, A.) Stay healthy and B.) Play together from the start.
“We’ve got a few starting returners coming back so that’s always a benefit,” she continued. “Not just returners but they’ll be older and more mature kids, we’ll have a very heavy senior class and most of them will have varsity experience and plenty of it.”
At the end of the day, the Lady Tigers have made the tournament each of the three years Boyd has been at the helm which has extended the streak that started in 2012 and the head coach credited the variety of characters to some of this year’s success.
“They’re a really fun group, very different personalities that started to come together more toward the end, I look forward to them playing together for longer so that way we can have a stronger start because they’re the kids that can do it they can go far and they want it, it just needs to be earlier than right before district when we can all play together,” Boyd said.