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All-District Volleyball: Eagles, Mustangs dominate 11-5A team
Rowlett and Sachse have had a stranglehold on the top two spots among Garland ISD volleyball teams for nearly a decade.
And even though Naaman Forest joined the party this year, it was not enough to keep one of the "top two" from claiming the district championship, which was claimed by the Eagles.
As is usually the case, the teams that enjoy the most success during the regular season are the ones that are well-rewarded on the all-district teams, and that is no different this year, with several Rowlett and Sachse players earning honors.
The Eagles claimed four superlative awards, led by 11-5A most valuable player Brenna McIlroy. The sophomore did a little of everything for Rowlett and she did it well, leading the team with 409 kills, 394 digs and 74 aces.
Taylor Bennett was named setter of the year after averaging 6.4 assists per game while also ranking among the team leaders in kills and digs, while Mandy Carmon was tabbed as server of the year.
Sommer Johnson, in her first season as head coach of the Eagles, was named coach of the year after leading them to a 21-14 overall record, the 11-5A championship and a trip to the area finals.
Rowlett had two additional players named to the first team in middle blocker Travia Jones and outside hitter Sarah McCombs.
The good news for the Eagles is the future looks even brighter, as McIlroy, Bennett and Carmon are all sophomores as is second-team selection Gabby Grindele, while McCombs is a junior.
Sachse fought through a rough start to the season to finish third in district play with a 9-3 record before falling in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Mustangs had a pair of superlative award winners in defensive player of the year Lauren Cole and newcomer of the year Erin Richburg.
Sachse seniors Jaliyah Bolden and Ebony Carter were named to the first team, while three other players were second-team honorees.
Among the other superlative award winners were Garland's Krystal Ejesime, who was named outstanding offensive player, and Naaman Forest's Micayla Buckner, who was honored as outstanding blocker.
New district additions Rockwall-Heath and Rockwall made an immediate splash in the volleyball season, taking the top two spots in the district race. Throw in a much-improved Tyler Lee team and that made it a tough season for the three Mesquite ISD teams.
Mesquite, Horn and North Mesquite were in a battle for the final playoff berth until the final day of the season.
In the end, it was the Skeeters who prevailed, winning its final two matches of the regular season to force a tie for fourth and then defeating the Jaguars in the play-in match.
Mesquite's Viershanie Latham, who averaged better than six kills per game, was also recognized for her defensive work and was tabbed 12-5A blocker of the year. The Skeeters were also represented on the first team by senior outside hitter Neka Nelson and junior setter Peyton Belt.
Horn had a pair of first-team honorees in senior Terita Williamson, who had 439 assists from her setter position, and junior Andi Spearman, who led the team with 353 kills and 55 aces.
North Mesquite did not have a player on the first team, but was represented on the second team by Heather Allen.
Rockwall-Heath claimed three superlative awards, including most valuable player Regina Tillis, outstanding defender Paige Parent and coach of the year Margaret Younger.
Rockwall's Rebecca Floyd was the outstanding setter, teammate Chaney Garcia was the newcomer of the year and Tyler Lee's Mallory Kuechle was named outstanding hitter.
Top spots on the 10-4A all-district volleyball team were tough to come by after impressive seasons from Highland Park, Carrollton Creekview and Forney and that was certainly the case for Poteet and West Mesquite, which placed only a handful of players on the first and second teams.
The Pirates, who rallied down the stretch to earn the fourth and final playoff berth with a play-in victory over Carrollton Newman Smith, was led by first-team selection Lizzy Contreras. The senior libero led the team with 581 digs, while adding 52 aces and 84 assists.
Poteet also placed three players on the second team in seniors Raeghan Shaw and Paige Morris and junior Madison Yannetti.
West Mesquite's Jalen Gunter was named to the second team.
District champion Highland Park received four superlative honors, while Carrollton Creekview and Forney each had two.
It was Creekview that actually boasted the most valuable player in Julie Chrisman. Her teammate, Alyssa Desjardins, was named outstanding setter.
The Scots featured outstanding libero Grace Carter, outstanding blocker Eleanor Watson, newcomer of the year Elizabeth Gilley and coach of the year Michael Dearman.
Forney's Mikayla Black was tabbed as outstanding defensive player while Melissa Mims was honored as outstanding attacker.