Anyone get the name of that truck?
You can take that worn out cliche and lose it, because the kids and coaches at Corsicana didn't need to look up the truck that hit them Tuesday night. They knew it was coming all along.
Corsicana volleyball Coach Ashley Grace knew exactly what she was doing when she scheduled Waco Midway (actually, Hewitt Midway).
That's why no one was shedding any tears after losing to Midway, which began the week ranked No. 3 in the Class 6A state poll. No. 3 may be a big understatement. Midway might just be the best high school volleyball team in Texas.
Grace, who has flipped the program upside down since taking over four years ago, wants to play the best. She wants her kids to grow, and get to the next level — a deep run in the Class 5A state playoffs. A hard dose of Midway is just what Dr. Grace ordered.
The Tigers are rolling and off to their best start in years. They're 12-4 against a brutal schedule that hit its apex Tuesday in the face of Midway, which swept the Tigers but did not sweep them away.
“We want to get better,'' Grace said.
They did, literally. Midway won 25-8, 25-13 and 25-18 and the Tigers looked like a different team in the third set, pushing their way to 20-18 before the end. They started going toe to toe halfway through the second set and had some strong volleys and moments when they were formidable against a team that is loaded.
“They've got five Division I athletes on that team,'' Grace said. “I was really proud of my girls. They never gave up. In the third set I thought we had a little momentum.”
It was a good night against a great team.
Caroline Biltz soared at times and was fierce at others. She finished with 11 kills and had a 2.3 serve-receive rating. Madison Pond had a 2.1 serve-receive rating, which is based on a 3.0 scale.
“Both of those serve-receive ratings are very good,'' Grace said.
Kiki Blanton had her moments at the net against a tall and talented front line, and finished with seven kills. Calie Bwicheilug had three kills and sophomore Maria Lee had another big game and finished with three kills while sophomore Abby Harlan had 17 assists.
“We had some good touches. We had some good rallies, not mental mistakes,” Grace said. “When you play a team that's really good you always learn something. We learned to anticipate, to be proactive and not reactive. Don't have any doubt, just do it 100 percent.”
That's where the program is at right now, growing and coming on stronger each year.
The Tigers were coming off a fourth-place finish in the Richardson Berkner Tournament, where they swept pool play, beating Lakeview Centennial, North Mesquite and Conrad, and they beat Plano West's second squad.
“We got into the Gold bracket, and that's what we wanted to do,'' Grace said. “We lost to Lovejoy and lost the third-place game to South Grand Prairie. We have four losses this year and they are all to state-ranked programs.''
That's where this program is today, rising and facing off with the Midways of the world. No one will know just how much the Tigers gained Tuesday night, but if they win another district title and make a run in the playoffs, somewhere along the line someone might just mention the night in August when they faced Midway.
Kerens tops Mildred
Kerens came back and won a close and thrilling match against Mildred, 25-18, 15-25, 15-25, 25-17, 15-12.
Kerens was led by Kaylee Reed (30 for 30 serving, 1 kill, 24 digs), Mya Lincoln (15 for 17 serving, 2 aces, 2 kills, 18 digs0 Megan McCaleb (7 digs), Olivia Franson (10 kills, 6 blocks), Kamiya Haynes (11 kills, 8 digs), Nia Brown (4 kills, 4 digs), Madison Parks (3 kills, 6 blocks). KK Weltmer ((2 kills) and Myliah Lincoln (10 digs, 25 assists).
Mildred was led by Nicole Arreola (9 kills, 2 aces, 4 blocks), Madisyn Arnett (2 blocks, 1 kill), Callie Waller (2 kills), Taylor White (7 assists, 5 aces), Taylor Steele (9 digs) and Ally McKendree (2 assists).
The Lady Bulldogs (11-1-1) lost for the first time this season against a scrappy Palmer team that won in four sets, 25-21, 10-25, 19-25, 28-30.
“I can't really complain about our first loss, the girls worked so hard and played well,'' said Dawson Coach Shannon Martinez. “Palmer has a great team!”
Dawson was led by Emma Reeder (6 kills, 1 block, 2 digs, 3 aces), Megan Freeland (1 kill, 1 block, 6 digs, 2 aces), Jacie Henderson (3 digs, 1 ace) and Payton Woodall (5 digs)
Frost sweeps Groesbeck
Frost won on the road Tuesday, beating Groesbeck 25-17, 25-9, 26-24.
The Lady Polar Bears were led by Gracie Smith (2 kills, 6 digs, 7 aces), Jennifer Andrews (2 kills, 5 assists, 8 digs), Katelyn Worley (1 kill, 4 digs, 1 ace), Kennah Kennedy (3 kills, 17 digs, 8 aces), Kinsley (3 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace) and Sydney Woods (2 kills, 8 assists, 10 digs).