Jul 20, 2022
IN THE ZONE: Lutheran South Academy Photo Gallery
Photo by Lily Cox || VYPE Media
Despite dealing with a series of bumps and bruises throughout the first half of the regular season, Sterling Volleyball has flipped the script, following an exemplary performance in the first round of district-play.
Under the direction of ninth-year coach Candace Southall-Burkhalter, the Rangers went from teetering below .500, to a current record 15-13, which includes an impressive 5-2 record (second-place) in district.
“They just started playing like a family,” said Southall. “It took a little while to establish the chemistry, since we’ve dealt with various injuries during the preseason and regular season, so our first district game was the first time we had everyone healthy and back together.”
Bradley C. Collier (VYPE)
“It took that aspect for us to figure out who we are. I think going into each game, we’ve just gotten stronger, and they’ve been working for each other.”
Said injuries included one the Baytown team’s stars, 2022 District 17-5A Offensive MVP, Katy Barger (Sr. OH). This has given several other key pieces the opportunity to step up.
Sterling's Katy BargerBradley C. Collier (VYPE)
“Katy (Barger) had been out for three weeks at one point,” Southall said. “However, when she got back, you know she’s a playmaker, so she definitely has had a huge impact on our team. In her absence, Bailee Payne (Sr. OH) has helped carry the team on several occasions.”
“But, I think in all actuality, most of the team has stepped up in their own way. Our setters, Kennedy Birdsell (Sr.) and Kyilee Whittington (Jr.), are key elements and are the driving forces of our team. Our defense relies heavily on Karmyn Hebert (Sr. L) and Briana Galvan (Sr. DS), so it’s really been a total team effort all the way through.”
As Sterling prepares for round two in the district race, they’ll have to contend with other powers such as Barbers Hill and Nederland.
“Going into the second round, it’s going to take some adjusting. There were some moments where we had some unforced errors the first time through district, but we’re more familiar with our opponents now. If and when we show up, I think it’s going to be a better time around for us.”
Given that fact, what will it take for Southall-Burkhalter and the Rangers to keep this momentum going?
“Honestly, it’s just going to be about maintaining our focus on one point at a time,” she said. “We can’t look too far in advance, we just need to be where our feet are. That’s the goal for the whole second half.”
“Our motto for the season, if you will, has been the acronym ‘F.A.M.I.L.Y.’ which means ‘Forget About Me, I Love You,’ which will continue to be our mindset moving forward, as we look for a spot in the playoffs.”
Stick around. Something tells us that this is only the beginning for Baytown Sterling.
The first round of district play in the Houston volleyball scene is officially in the books. As teams prepare for Round No. 2, the expectations keep escalating.
Cypress Ranch ascends to the top of their district following a big time victory against rival Langham Creek. Meanwhile, Cinco Ranch continues to assert their dominance in the packed Katy ISD, with Tompkins and Seven Lakes being among their latest victims in some close matchups. Another team to keep an eye on -- George Ranch --who enters the equation after their recent win over Class 6A contender Fort Bend Austin.
In Class 5A, the highly-anticipated divisional matchup between Fulshear and Foster resulted in the Chargers taking a firm grasp of first place in Lamar Consolidated ISD. Barbers Hill and Friendswood still remain in top spots with each team maintaining their monstrous momentum. Furthermore, there have been new developments in the rankings, as Baytown Sterling topples GCM which extends their record over .500.
THE VYPE RANKINGS
Class 6A Top 20 (Numbers in parentheses indicate current record)
1. Grand Oaks Grizzlies (36-1; 10-0 in district)
2. Cinco Ranch Cougars (26-5; 10-0 in district)
3. Stratford Spartans (30-6; 7-0 in district)
4. Cypress Ranch Mustangs (26-5; 7-0 in district)
5. Pearland Dawson Eagles (28-8; 5-0 in district)
6. Langham Creek Lobos (28-8; 6-1 in district)
7. Deer Park Deer (26-9; 6-0 in district)
8. Tomball Memorial Wildcats (29-8; 7-0 in district)
9. Pearland Oilers (27-10; 5-1 in district)
10. Katy Tompkins Falcons (21-9; 8-2 in district)
11. College Park Cavaliers (19-7; 8-2 in district)
12. The Woodlands Highlanders (26-13; 8-2 in district)
13. Clear Springs Chargers (24-12; 6-0 in district)
14. Ridge Point Panthers (24-13; 9-1 in district)
15. Fort Bend Austin Bulldogs (22-14; 8-2 in district)
16. Seven Lakes Spartans (20-13; 7-2 in district)
17. Bridgeland Bears (21-11; 5-2 in district)
18. Atascocita Eagles (20-10; 7-0 in district)
19. Katy Jordan Warriors (23-11; 6-3 in district)
20. George Ranch Longhorns (20-14; 8-2 in district)
Class 5A Top 10
1. Barbers Hill Eagles (30-7; 7-0 in district)
2. Friendswood Mustangs (19-9; 6-0 in district)
3. Fulshear Chargers (26-4; 6-0 in district)
4. Foster Falcons (24-8; 6-1 in district)
5. Baytown Sterling Rangers (15-13; 5-2 in district)
6. Goose Creek Memorial Patriots (21-11; 5-2 in district)
7. Magnolia Bulldogs (17-14; 4-3 in district)
8. Lake Creek Lions (15-19; 4-3 in district)
9. Montgomery Bears (22-15; 2-5 in district)
10. Galveston Ball Tornadoes (22-12; 2-4 in district)
Private School Top 10
1. Fort Bend Christian Academy Eagles (22-3; 6-0 in district)
2. Lutheran South Academy Pioneers (30-7; 7-1 in district)
3. Episcopal Knights (24-9; 2-0 in district)
4. Concordia Lutheran Crusaders (29-11; 4-1 in district)
5. St. John's Mavericks (17-8; 5-0 in district)
6. Rosehill Christian Eagles (18-8; 7-0 in district)
7. The John Cooper School Dragons (16-6; 2-0 in district)
8. Legacy Prep Lions (21-3-4; 2-0 in district)
9. Kinkaid School Falcons (8-9; 2-2 in district)
10. St. John XXIII Lions (11-15; 2-2 in district)
One of the fastest-growing sports at Bridge City High isn’t on the field or court.
It’s on the water.
Dating back to 2013, BCHS has gradually been developing a club dedicated to the common passion of competitive fishing.
Along with several other schools that make up the Southeast Texas High School Fishing Association, this program consists of numerous tournaments in which teams compete against each other with the opportunity to win scholarships.
One might wonder about the full scope of its popularity.
“Our team has been growing,” said one of the program’s directors, Melissa Cox. “We started with just a few. We only have 30 seniors right now, but the junior class is huge, and the underclassmen team continues to grow as well. We’re trying to expand our club, and they’ve been really fun to work with.
“Around here, we fish a lot. But it’s not like football, where something brings people together. So, watching all these kids bond and compete over their common love for fishing is really special to see.”
Inspired by the BassMaster Elite trail, this phenomenon has spread to the collegiate and high school level, which brings the Bridge City team to where it is today.
The Cardinals represent exceptionally well on the water. The group averaging at least three Top 30 finishers in every tournament, and had success to the tune of earning up to $15,000 in scholarships in just one season.
Fishing may be a solitary activity to some, but that doesn’t mean the students can’t learn something along the way.
“The kids learn teamwork through the tournament fishing program, and they learn how to be accountable for themselves,” said Cox. “They are working in groups and they have a partner throughout the process, but they understand how to be individually responsible as a result.”
So what does a tournament day look like for the students involved?
“Usually, the kids are blasting off pretty early,” Cox said. “They can start putting their lines in the water around 7 a.m. and they tend to grind it out all day until around 3 p.m. Since most of our tournaments start around January, they can sometimes be out in 30-degree weather with icicles hanging off their boats and poles.
“That, paired with the fact that they tend to bring their own equipment and drive to the location, shows just how committed these kids are to this sport.”
Sounds difficult, yet inviting. It’s not hard to see what reeled these competitors in.
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