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The UIL State volleyball tournament has already been off to a great. start. The next semifinals pairing winner will head to the state championship match and play against one of the most dominant volleyball teams in the state: Lucas Lovejoy. Before that, though, Grapevine and New Braunfels Canyon must play.
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Grapevine has posted an incredible season so far. The Lady Mustangs have fought to stay in the running to be one of the top DFW volleyball teams all season and the work has more than paid off. Missouri signee Janet deMarrais has been a phenomenal source of energy on Grapevine's team while tallying 407 kills this season. deMarrais posted a season-high 31 kills in the first round of playoffs against Wichita Falls Rider. deMarrais is joined by teammates Alea Lastinger, Greyson Button, and Ava Shankle who have all played hard for the Mustangs this season.
Playing with a dominating offense and a commanding defense, fans should expect Grapevine to come into Friday's semifinal strong.
The Cougars have shown that they are here on a very specific business trip this season- they want to take it all home and they are going to fight to continue to keep their hopes of a state title alive. The team lost a preseason match against Lovejoy earlier this year and wants nothing more than to make a full circle all the way back to the biggest state in Texas high school volleyball to shut down the Leopards once and for all, so fans can expect to see the Cougars use that as motivation to play hard against Grapevine.
Canyon is led by Kyla Malone who has posted 580 kills on the season. The offense has scored in moments that have been absolutely necessary all season in order to stay alive and fans can expect to see much of the same on Friday afternoon.
Both teams are going to play hard until the final point is scored. Canyon may want to play in a revenge match against Lovejoy, but Grapevine has been on their mark all season. The Mustangs have everything it takes to make it to the state finale and the only thing standing in their way is Canyon.
Denton is looking for its 3rd win against Grapevine this season, and revenge for last season's playoff loss.
The Grapevine Mustangs (16-5, 10-4) are gearing up to face the Denton Broncos (21-2, 13-1) in the UIL Class 5A State Championship Region I Final on Saturday, December 5th at 2 p.m. Fans should expect this match-up to extremely physical on both ends of the net as the two teams meet again in the state tournament. Last season, Grapevine defeated Denton 3-2 in the regional quarterfinal round of playoffs.
After losing in the regional semifinals last season, Grapevine is on a mission. The Mustangs have made a playoff appearance in 9 of the last 10 seasons (narrowly missing playoffs in the 2012-2013 season). With a 3-2 win over Amarillo, Grapevine will likely show early offensive strength as they try to push toward a state semifinal appearance. Senior Olivia Evarts will look to control the game, as she leads the Mustangs with 418 assists on the season.
Denton comes to the match with a bit of a vendetta against Grapevine after being sent home from playoffs by the Mustangs last season. The Broncos have made the playoffs for the last nine seasons and have showed no signs of slowing down. Denton is coming off of a huge 3-0 win over Randall, and will be ready to jump on Grapevine if they can. The Broncos are an experienced squad, with 14 upperclassmen on the roster. Don't expect the moment to be too big for Denton. They'll be ready.
Grapevine and Denton have already faced off twice this season. In October, the Broncos swept the Mustangs winning 3-0 while in November, the Broncos took the match 3-1. While Denton has won both regular season matches this season, it's the playoffs that matter. Grapevine has a history of knocking Denton out of the show...will history repeat itself? Or will Denton change the story? Today's game will have the answer.