Volleyball team starts District play with 2-0 record

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Jack Stenglein

The Lady Chaps opened District play with a 25-11, 25-11, 25-10 win against Del Valle Aug. 26, and a 25-12, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23 win against Bowie, who was previously undefeated, Sept. 3. This win gave the Chaps an overall record of 24-4, and a District record of 2-0.

“Bowie is good this season,” junior Taylor Flaherty said. “We didn’t play our best, but we still pulled out a win.”

The team has 14 matches left in District play, with some tough opponents ahead of them, including Lake Travis, who was co-champion with the Lady Chaps last year. The Chaps will next face Akins Sept. 9 and Anderson Sept. 12. Although it will be a challenge, the coaches and players say they have high hopes for the rest of the season.

“Our goal is to win District and to progress as far as we can and get to State,” varsity coach Al Bennett said. “There are a whole bunch of little goals that have to happen all the way, like making it into playoffs. You have to take it a little at a time. We just have to play our best volleyball when we need to, which is the hard part.”

In addition to District play, the team competed in three tournaments and two matches. The Lady Chaps won both matches, while placing 11th in the Pearland tournament, first in the Fraulein Fest tournament and second in the Lonestar Circle of Champions tournament. The Chaps’ four losses were from tournament play. The tournaments featured some of the best competition in the state, allowing the girls to prepare for District.

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves as a team in the tournaments,” Bennett said. “We lost to some very good teams, including previous State Champions. I feel we’ve made a lot of progress as a team, learning to play together and battling extremely well. We’ve shown we can compete with anyone in the state.”

The team trains every weekday, with Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays having long practices that can last up to three hours. As Tuesdays and Fridays are game days, they generally have shorter practices so the girls can warm up for the matches. All of this time spent training has helped bring the girls together as a team

“There are 12 seniors on the team, so they are all already close, and with only six underclassmen, the seniors do a really good job of taking us under their wing,” Taylor said. “This helps us on the court because there are certain people who can calm the team down and no one really gets mad at anyone else. One of the reasons we do so well I think is because we are all so close.”

Although this will be the last year of volleyball for many of the seniors on the team, a few will continue to play in college. Seniors Jesse Turner and Madison Borowski will both play at South Carolina, and, although they have another year of Westlake volleyball remaining, junior Claire Hahn has committed to Texas, and Taylor has committed to Colgate.

“I want to play in college because I love the sport so much and I couldn’t imagine not playing it,” Taylor said. “I decided on Colgate because when I visited this summer, I fell in love. Everything was perfect — volleyball, academics and location. I can definitely picture myself going there.”