UIL STATE SEMIFINALS PREVIEW: Lovejoy vs. Manvel volleyball
The Lovejoy Leopards are no stranger to the biggest stage in UIL volleyball. In their 12th consecutive appearance in the state semifinals, Lovejoy is looking to advance to the finale on Saturday. Before they can do that, though, they must beat first-time qualifier Manvel. Let's take a look at the teams and what fans can expect in Friday's semifinal pairing.
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Lovejoy Leopards (40-6, 13-1)
Last season, Lovejoy completed a perfect season- dropping no games and topping it all off with their eighth state title. This year, the Leopards are looking to add another state title notch to their belts as they head into the state semifinals on a 15-game win-streak. Despite finishing second in their district- just behind a very strong McKinney North team- Lovejoy has shown the strength and stamina they always have had on the court.
With six athletes signed to college program, the depth of talent is incredible for the Leopards. Pepperdine signee Rosemary Archer leads the team in kills with 392 while Baylor signee Averi Carlson leads the team in assists with 879 and aces with 69. Carlson is third in diggs (364) and is quite the presence on the court for the Leopards. With the drive and power to continue their excellence, fans should expect to see Lovejoy finish the tournament strong.
Manvel Mavericks (37-11, 16-0)
Manvel comes into the semifinals with a 22-game win-streak after posting a perfect district record (16-0). Showing incredible defense, the Mavericks have defeated the likes of Needville, Barbers Hill, Clear Creek, Deer Park, College Station, and more en route to the state tournament. Manvel is on a mission this season and is ready to put up a fight in order to get to where they want to be- the state finale.
The biggest threats on Manvel's team are Lyric Jordan, Devyn Lewis, and Mary-Kate Preston. While Jordan has tallied 399 kills and sits in the second-highest spot in kills for the team, Lewis has recorded 474 kills. The two are going to look to continue their scoring dominance on Friday morning against Lovejoy. Preston has posted 342 kills and 163 total blocks (144 of which are solo).
What to Expect:
Head-to-head battle and back-to-back scoring. Fans can expect these teams to play top-notch volleyball as they go score-for-score throughout this match. Manvel is going to come in strong and ready to keep up with the likes of Lovejoy. Lovejoy has all the power, drive, and will to advance to the state finale, but it's not going to come without a fight.