Katy Seven Lakes defeated the Klein Bearkats 3-1 in four sets in Garland on Saturday to become the UIL Conference 6A Volleyball State Champions. The Spartans ended their season with a 25-1 record and a state title.
Klein came into the match undefeated. The Bearkats, until Saturday, were 26-0. Klein was able to win set one by a score of 26-24 over Seven Lakes. The second set began with Klein showing their strength and taking a quick lead. Seven Lakes was able to turn it around and rallied from behind with a score of 18-12. It wasn't long before the Spartans tied the set at 19-19 against the Bearkats. Once Seven Lakes took the lead, though, they ran with it winning the second set by a score of 25-22.
Set three saw the same physicality and back and forth scoring as the first two sets. Seven Lakes got out to an early lead and came out with a win over Klein by a score of 25-20. Finally, set 4 came and again the teams were back and forth in their scoring. Seven Lakes was able to pull off a 25-22 win to win the championship match.
Senior Ally Batenhorst was awarded the match MVP as she recorded a match-high 30 kills. Batenhorst also recorded a team-high 15 digs alongside a match-high of 32 points. "We started off the first set with a little bit of nerves," Batenhorst said in the press conference. "We were excited to be there and had so much adrenaline… we got in our own heads a little bit. By the middle of the second set, we got out of that mental funk and we were able to put it over the edge."
The Spartans had to shut down their season twice in 2020 due to COVID-19 outbreaks. "We talked a lot about [COVID] because the majority of our team had it," Batenhorst said. "We overcame it. Like I said, we are resilient and we bounce back. We kept our spirits up and believed we could still do it." Batenhorst said that right now, she's just excited to get on the bus and go get Chick-Fil-A.
Batenhorst's younger sister, Casey, also plays for the team. A now junior watched both of her older sisters play at the Curtis Culwell Center on a few occasions. She said this helped spark and further her passion for volleyball. "We knew we wanted [a championship] so bad," said Casey Batenhorst. "It's all we've talked about for an entire year."
Spartan volleyball head coach, Amy Cataline had only great things to say about her team in the press conference. "I could not be more proud of this team," Cataline said. "[The atmosphere was] electric. The fans were great." As far as the surreal moment of winning the state title as the first Katy ISD team to take away a championship? "It's an honor," Cataline says. "We talked about it. We wanted it. The reality hasn't sunk in yet."
Coach Cataline spoke on Ally Batenhorst's leadership in the press conference as well: "She loves her teammates and she shows it. She gave her whole heart this season and her team followed. She's a team player to the core and you just don't find that with an elite player these days, so it's been an honor to be by her side."
Some athletes you have to see in person to appreciate how good they are.
I made the case earlier this year for North Shore QB Dematrius Davis being the best high school football player in the history of Houston. I'm pretty much dead on as Davis is tracking for his third-straight State Title while breaking ankles and throwing dimes on opposing defenders.
Well, here's another hot take.
Seven Lakes' Ally Batenhorst is the all-time best volleyball player in the history of Houston.
"Yep, for sure," coach Amy Cataline said. "She can pass, she can serve, she can hit. She leads and plays with such heart. Absolutely."
Don't just take her coach's word for it.