Starting anew

Lady Tigers begin round two of district play Friday

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After the Sealy Lady Tiger volleyball squad had its eight-match sweep streak snapped at the hands of the No. 8 Bellville Brahmanettes – who secured their 19th consecutive victory last Tuesday – Sealy started a new sweep streak by taking down the El Campo Lady Ricebirds on the road last Friday to move to 3-1 in District 24-4A entering play this week.

The beginning of the week also brought an updated state poll from the Texas Girls Coaches Association where the Lady Tigers dropped three slots to No. 19 while Bellville moved up three spots to No. 5 with a perfect 4-0 district record.

The Brahmanettes got out to an early lead and cruised in the first set before stronger sets from Sealy, although Bellville still managed a sweep of the crosstown rivals in the teams’ first meeting as district foes since the recent realignment of the University Interscholastic League.

Sealy head volleyball coach Kim Boyd said the team learned plenty in its first loss since Aug. 25 and showed resiliency by taking down El Campo later in the week.

“Nothing wrong with being humbled a little bit. I feel like we had this expectation about it instead of just going out and playing our game. It was a really rough start against Bellville. We fought back and I think if we had a stronger first set, it would have been a completely different outcome,” Boyd said. “But then, we talked about the mentality of being tough throughout the match, how we can work on different things, playing together as a team and not as individuals, and leaving it all on the court and the game went really well when they played with that in mind on Friday.”

The head coach said the Lady Tigers got back to work in practice and already look forward to the rematch on Oct. 16.

“Obviously, they knew that it wasn’t our best game. They knew that we didn’t play the way we should have, and we had different lineup changes throughout and the people who came off the bench did an excellent job without starting and they were real difference-makers for us,” Boyd said. “They wish they would have had no regrets from the game but unfortunately that’s the way it was dealt. We’re looking forward to the next opportunity to play them and not just playing them but also playing them at home.”

Although Sealy played its 21st regular-season match at the end of last week, Boyd said the team would have normally seen more competition at the start but most every team has dealt with a lack of matches in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have a lot of heart; they play for each other,” Boyd said. “We’re going to continue to work on how to actually make that happen in stressful situations because our preseason wasn’t as stressful as it normally would have been with the 5A and 6A schools.”

In any match, it hasn’t taken long for the Lady Tigers’ offense to run through senior outside hitter Brylie Nedd, who registered double-digit kills in both matches last week, totaling 22 kills and adding a block. Junior setter Breanna Brandes facilitated a majority of the offense and collected 25 assists in last week’s play to go along with 16 digs, 13 kills, three aces and two blocks.

Senior Avery Oliver contributed eight kills and two blocks to the winning efforts over El Campo with junior Julia Jurecka and senior Ally Dickens adding a pair of blocks to help Sealy move to 17-4 overall and 3-1 in district play. Also in last Friday’s action, senior Brooke Kram registered eight digs and three aces, freshman Blair Kram recorded 10 assists and senior Bailey Koy added an ace.

In the early-week loss in Bellville, sophomore Jasmyne Joiner racked up five kills and a block to help spark a Lady Tiger turnaround, junior Emily Luther assisted on 14 scoring plays and added eight digs and senior Alyssa Foertsch provided eight digs and an ace.

Sealy begins the second round of district play with a home match against the Royal Lady Falcons Friday night and has three more home contests remaining before the regular-season finale on Oct. 23 in Navasota against the Lady Rattlers.

It was Navasota that was in town earlier this week to close the Lady Tigers’ first round of play within District 24 with time running out on the seniors’ final season.

“I’m glad that we were able to have a season in general so it’s something that our seniors especially need to enjoy,” Boyd said. “It’s winding down with only a few matches left to really go out with a bang.”

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