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HOUSTON – Early investment in team bonding paid off and propelled the SBS Eagle volleyball team and coach Chandace Tryon straight into playoffs.
Joining the Second Baptist School coaching staff in summer of 2021, Tryon came in ready to prepare for her first season leading the team. Without missing a beat, Tryon jumped into preseason full force, utilizing an open gym format to meet the athletes, hold tryouts and establish relationships.
"Creating that high energy in the gym and getting to know them through bonding experiences like matched sister pairings and games was really important for me since the beginning," Tryon said.
It was a priority for them to establish the best team environment and bonding between herself and the team as well as the teammates and each other. Second Baptist School finished the regular season 29-7 overall, second in district play, and will open the 2021 TAPPS 5A Playoffs today at 4:30 against Hyde Park at home.
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"It's really a credit to the students," Tryon said of the success. "They bought in really quickly and were excited about competing well."
But when did Tryon know that this team could do this?
In the weekend prior to the beginning of district play, the Eagles traveled to the Houston Juniors facility to play in their FAST Private School Tournament on September 11. After dropping two matches, Second Baptist School rattled off three-straight wins, which gave them momentum that they carried into district play.
"That was when everything started coming together," Tryon said. I could see how our hard work was paying off. It was perfect timing, and I was confident we were going to do really well.'"
The Eagles rolled through district play, registering multiple sweeps and playing eventual district champion Fort Bend Christian Academy, pushing them to a decisive fifth-set in the final meeting.
Alexis Gill '22 leads the team with 241 assists, 120 digs, 69 kills and 44 aces. Julia Sauvageau '22 has a team-leading 233 digs, Emma Wentz '22 has chipped in 81 kills, Kennedy Smith '22 has 165 assists, Morgan Warren '24 has a team-leading 21 blocks and 90 kills and Madi Hobbs '25 has registered 134 kills and 129 digs for the Eagles.
As they head into the playoffs seeking win number 30 for the year, Tryon said this kind of success was expected and not a surprise at this point.
"Once we got into it, it was an expectation that we're going to win a lot of these games and do it the right way," she said. "I don't know if I imagined it would be almost 30 wins, but I could tell from practice, the team dynamic and the games that this was going to be a special season."
The 2021 captains for Second Baptist School have been Alexis Gill, Julia Sauvageau and Autumn Malone.
Right at the beginning of the 2020 season, VYPE ventured out to Second Baptist School to catch up with some of the Eagles!
VYPE's Joshua Koch sat down with Julia Sauvageau, a junior on the Second Baptist School volleyball team, to talk about the upcoming year and more.
VYPE: What did you all learn from last season?
Sauvageau: "I think we all learned how to work together and play as a team, because as things got harder through the year we had to depend on each other."
VYPE: As you push into your junior year, do you feel yourself taking on more of a leadership role as you become an upperclassman?
Sauvageau: "I feel like helping the underclassmen really helps them do better on the court. Giving everyone encouragement is also awesome."
VYPE: What do you enjoy the most about attending Second Baptist School?