Playoff-bound Lady Mustangs honor seniors

Posted 10/27/20

The Madisonville volleyball team defeated Connally at MHS in straight sets Friday to conclude their district season and send their many senior players off on the right note. The Lady Mustangs will begin their postseason push against Rusk in the Bi-District round at Crockett High School Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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Playoff-bound Lady Mustangs honor seniors

Posted

The Madisonville volleyball team defeated Connally at MHS in straight sets Friday to conclude their district season and send their many senior players off on the right note. The Lady Mustangs will begin their postseason push against Rusk in the Bi-District round at Crockett High School Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s honored seniors included players Kia Moffett, Raegan Olvera, Grace Williamson, Sidnie Smith, Kourtney Fleck, Haley Fleck, Riley Pitcock, Brooke McKean, Taylor Barrett and team manager Daiona Johnson.

“It is really unusual when you graduate that many kids in a volleyball program,” said Madisonville head coach Kristen Hooten. “It was something we really wanted to celebrate and show our appreciation to them for sticking through the program that long.”

The 10 seniors were accompanied by loved ones on the court after the game while MCISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Keith West announced their names and their best memories with the program. This segment also included personal messages from the loved ones they shared the court with.

“I thought the ceremony was really nice,” said Hooten. “It was an emotional time, but we also talked about how this wasn't the end. The postseason is here and we get to go on and continue.”

The Lady Mustangs competed in the same district against Rusk in their last two seasons and were 2-0 against the Eagles in 2019.

“We have had some success against them,” said Hooten. “With that success comes a little confidence, which is always good to have, but they are talented and scrappy and playing for what we are playing for. Everybody deserves to be there and it is going to be about who wants it the most. I think, if we play our game to our level, we will come out successful.”

The game will take place at Crockett, where the Lady Mustangs won their first playoff game in 10 years in 2019.

Before the seniors were introduced Friday, the Lady Mustangs defeated Connally by scores of 25-8, 25-18 and 25-13. Williamson led the way with eight kills and was followed by Kourtney Fleck with seven and Smith with five.

Olvera recorded 11 assists in the win while Grayson Bennett added nine and led the way with eight digs. She was followed by Jadyn Hooten with six while Smith and Audree Phillips added four apiece. Olvera and Kia Moffett each recorded three digs.

“I felt like it was an all-around team effort,” said Hooten on the Connally win. “You always want to end the regular season on a victory going into the next part of the season.”

On Oct. 20, the Lady Mustangs fell to undefeated and top-ranked China Spring for the second time this season by scores of 10-25, 14-25 and 13-25. Williamson logged 10 kills in the loss while Olvera and Briana Johnson added four and three, respectively.

Williamson and Johnson each assisted on blocks in the win along with Bennett, Riley Pitcock and Kourtney Fleck. Olvera led the way with 10 assists and was followed by Bennett with seven. Bennett also led the team with nine digs while Smith added eight and Moffett added six.

“(China Spring) is big and athletic all-around, and they can hit,” said Hooten. “They have a very solid program, which is why they are undefeated on the year. It was their senior night, so they were excited about that. It wasn't one of our better outings, but it’s important that we play teams like that. We have to fix what we did wrong and prepare for it in the playoffs, because those are the kind of teams we are going to see.”

The team competed in a playoff warmup match Monday against Burton at MHS. The senior-heavy squad now enters the postseason with a goal in mind: advance farther than they ever have before.

“They want to be remembered as the group that did that,” said Hooten. “With that on their shoulders, there is just a little bit more of an edge in the locker room and a little more energy and excitement. This is what you play your whole season for. You cannot have bad games or off nights and you’ve gotta bring your A-game or you go home, and they realize that.”

Tickets to Thursday’s Bi-District matchup in Crockett against Rusk can be purchased at the gate for $5 for adults and $3 for students.

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