Boy, I thought I was so smart.
Last year, I revealed my "2018 Dazzling Dozen" state volleyball awards, simply (and ignorantly) keeping it down to the Top 24 players that I saw with my own eyes.
I will tell anyone who will listen: Texas has the greatest volleyball players in the country. Period. And keep in mind I have access to the knowledge of hundreds of coaches around the state; to Josh Koch of VYPE Houston; and, to the greatest Texas High School volleyball mind around, Butch Hart of the Texas Girls Coaches Association.
So my "ignorance" from last year is the fact I only named 24 of the best players that I saw. There's just too many great players to keep any list down to a Top 24. To make amends (to myself, mostly), I expanded the 2019 Dazzling Dozen to five Superlative Awards; first, second and third teams; and, a dozen honorable mentions.
Remember: there's no politics in my choices. These are players I saw in person (thanks to the great folks at VYPE Media, I got to watch over 150 teams compete); there's no "spreading the love," in trying to get as many teams and players mentioned as possible.
Just the best of the best.
Thus, my Dazzling Dozen: the best players whom I saw this season that leave everything out on the court. Not that others didn't but these are the ones who made a big impression on me. These are the student-athletes whom I'd pick if I were heading up a volleyball team (or two).
And yes, since these are my personal choices, you're welcome to give me your thoughts directly – hit me up at email@example.com
Chuck Licata's 2019 Volleyball Dazzling Dozen
Player, School (Year) Coach
Co-Players of the Year:
Payton Chamberlain, Byron Nelson (Jr) Brianne Groth
Paige Flickinger, Byron Nelson (Sr) Brianne Groth
Hitter of the Year:
Kaylee Cox, Flower Mound (Jr) Jamie Siegel
Setter of the Year:
Averi Carlson, Lovejoy (Jr) Ryan Mitchell
Utility Player of the Year:
Avery Kalsu, Dripping Springs (Sr) Michael Kane
Libero of the Year:
Sarah Martinez, Flower Mound (Jr) Jamie Siegel
Cecily Bramschreiber, Lovejoy (Jr) Ryan Mitchell
Charitie Luper, Byron Nelson (Jr) Brianne Groth
Dylan Maberry, The Woodlands (Sr) Teri Wade
Iman Ndiaye, Plano West (Sr) Justin Waters
Grayson Schirpik, Rouse (Sr) Jacob Thompson
Annabelle Smith, Southlake Carroll (Sr) Teresa Dunn
Clara Brower, The Woodlands (Jr) Teri Wade
Reagan Rutherford, Ridge Point (Sr) Lauryn Bailey
Jill Pressly, Plano West (Sr) Justin Waters
Brooke Slusser, Guyer (Jr) Heather Van Noy
Gia Santini, Byron Nelson (Sr) Brianne Groth
Callie Kemohah, Lovejoy (Jr) Ryan Mitchell
Ally Batenhorst, Seven Lakes (Jr) Amy Cataline
Ellie Echter, Fulshear (Jr) Syndey Gotcher
Brianna Ford, Randall (Sr) Haleigh Burns
Samantha Jacobs, Prosper (Sr) Erin Kauffman
Claire Jeter, Ridge Point (Sr) Lauryn Bailey
Makensy Manbeck, Friendswood (Sr) Sarah Paulk
Shelby O'Neal, Clemens (Sr) Robyn Wunderlich
Lexi Moody, Crawford (Sr) Jeff Coker
Tori Weatherley, Friendswood (Sr) Sarah Paulk
Reilly Heinrich, Rouse (Sr) Jacob Thompson
Nia McCardell, Ridge Point (Sr) Lauryn Bailey
Annie Antar, Klein (Jr) Kate Zora
Angelique Cyr, Flower Mound (Jr) Jamie Siegel
Alexis Dacosta, Fulshear (Soph) Sydney Gotcher
Kylann Griffith, Vanderbilt Industrial (Sr) Kelsey Vasquez
Jaelyn Grimm, Cedar Park (Sr) Lori McLaughlin
Alicia Hearn, Sachse (Sr) Rikki Jones
Alexia Jones, Dawson (Jr) Lauren Leth
Libby Overmyer, Kingwood Park (Sr) Kelly Mizer
Lexi Rogers, Neches (Jr) Morgan Roberson
Anne Williams, Crawford (Sr) Jeff Coker
Kenzie Beckham, Westwood (Jr) Tara Grant
Emma Becker, Liberty Hill (Soph) Gretchen Peterson
Maddie Correa, SA (Sr) Reagan Rachel Torvik
Delaney Dilfer, Vandegrift (Sr) Melissa Southall
Kara Erfurth, Rouse (Sr) Jacob Thompson
Emery Herman, Georgetown (Sr) Jenny Richardson
Chloe Jordan, Pearland (Sr) Christian Dunn
Alessandra Meoni, Friendswood (Jr) Sarah Paulk
Audrey Quesnel, Westwood (Sr) Tara Grant
Kamryn Scroggins, Dawson (Soph) Lauren Leth
Annie Stadthaus, Vandegrift (Sr) Melissa Southall
Kyndal Stowers, Guyer (Fr) Heather Van Noy
Ryann Torres, Hays (Sr) Ashley Davis
Ragan Ward, Waxahachie (Sr) Sandy Faussett
Jamison Wheeler, Lake Travis (Jr) Brandace Boren
The Byron Nelson High School Bobcats' volleyball team flew all the way to Hawaii to participate in the Ann Kang tournament two weeks ago. Coach Brianne Groth's squad finished second, losing only the championship match to Redondo (CA).
This past weekend, the 'Cats were right at home this past Saturday – literally – as they grabbed their second consecutive Northwest ISD (NISD) Classic championship.
You see, Byron Nelson is one of the three host schools for the NISD Classic. And, the rotation of courts in the district for the tournament put this year's championship match held on the Bobcats' court.
Groth's squad took advantage of the situation, sweeping Lucas Lovejoy in two sets (25-20, 25-18) to win their second straight NISD title. BNHS now stands 18-1 overall on the season.
"(Lovejoy) is a really talented, well-coached team," Groth stated afterward. "We may have swept them but it was nowhere as easy as it looked (on the scoreboard)."
Four BNHS players (junior Charitie Luper, senior Paige Flickinger, junior Addi Miller and senior Skyler McKinnon) all had at least five kills each. Luper, voted the tournament MVP, slammed 15 kills and made one solo block in the win. Flickinger, named to the All-Tournament team, powered 13 kills past Lovejoy; she had a block-assist and service ace as well. Miller had two block-assists to go with her five kills while McKinnon blasted five kills.
Ryan Mitchell's Leopards (16-3) were led by junior Offensive MVP Cecily Bramschreiber, who totaled 12 kills and one block-assist. All-tournament team members sophomore setter Averi Carlson (22 assists, four kills) and junior libero Callie Kemoha (23 digs) contributed to the cause.
The tournament continues to grow – in size and strength, All told, there were 11 teams ranked in today's Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) poll, including Byron Nelson (#1 in Class 6A), Lovejoy (#2 in 5A), Randall (#3 in 5A), Flower Mound (the state's defending 6A champ; ranked #5), Eaton (#6 in 6A) and Sachse (#8 in 6A).
It was Eaton – along with Nelson and Northwest High School, the third school that makes up Northwest ISD – that made quite a few headlines last weekend.
Diane Wilson's Eagles won the Austin ISD/Jason Landers tournament the previous weekend with a perfect 9-0 slate. The Eagles came into the tourney with a perfect 10-0 mark; they swept each of three opponents the first two days, including impressive wins over TGCA-ranked Randall and El Paso Coronado (#17 in 6A) on Day Two.
Lake Ridge ended the Eagles' run on Saturday, but it took three hard sets for Eaton to fall. The Eagles would finish fifth in the tournament, compiling a 7-2 record in the impressive field. They're now 16-2 overall.
Flower Mound (12-2) entered the weekend as the state's #1 team but back-to-back losses to Mansfield and Sachse kept them from reaching the championship match. Still, Jamie Siegel's Jaguars beat state-ranked Waxahachie in its final match for 10th-place in the deep tournament field.
NISD Classic All-Tournament Team
MVP: Charitie Luper, Byron Nelson (Outside Hitter)
Offensive MVP: Cecily Bramschreiber, Lovejoy (Outside Hitter)
Defensive MVP: Gia Santini, Byron Nelson (Libero)
Setter MVP: Payton Chamberlain, Byron Nelson (Setter)
Paige Flickinger, Byron Nelson (Outside Hitter)
Averi Carlson, Lovejoy
Callie Kemoha, Lovejoy
Adeline Ortman, Eaton
Alicia Hearn, Sachse (Outside Hitter)
Madison Williams, Lake Ridge (Outside Hitter)
Lyric Stewart, Lake Ridge (Outside Hitter)
Zoe Parker, Randall (Outside Hitter)
Katie Le, Mansfield
Mollie Blank, Mansfield
Annabelle Smith, Southlake Carroll
Nnedi Okammor, Hebron