The Flower Mound Jaguars have had targets on their backs since the Texas high school volleyball season started back on Aug. 1.
Jamie Siegel's Jags "stumbled" out of the gate with "just" a 12-3 start before last weekend's highly-rated Volleypalooza tournament, put on by Rouse High School and Leander ISD.
But the Jags found their claws in Leander and ripped through a deep field and beat Pearland Dawson in three sets, 25-14, 23-25, 25-15, to take home the tourney's 2019 championship trophy.
"This was such a strong tournament," Siegel stated afterwards. "For us the (challenge here) was 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. I'm proud of these girls – they played hard and never got rattled. We went down (the first set) to The Woodlands but came right back after adjustments.
"In the championship match, Dawson won the second set; but the girls adjusted well and took the third set. I'm very proud of them."
Tournament MVP Kaylee Cox (a junior) of Flower Mound (17-3 overall; 9-0 at Volleypalooza) slammed 13 kills against Dawson after hammering 16 in the semifinals win over The Woodlands. She had a solo block and two block-assists in the semis and added a block-assist in the finals. Teammate Angelique Cyr (junior) added 15 kills against Flower Mound after hammering nine kills against The Woodlands.
Senior Alexia Jones of Lauren Leth's Dawson squad (19-3 overall; 7-2 at Volleypalooza) was the tourney's Outstanding Hitter and cranked out 16 kills in the final. Senior teammate Aliyah McDonald, named to the All-Tournament team, chipped in with eight kills, one solo block and one block-assist in the loss.
As stated, the Volleypalooza field was deep with state-ranked teams. The Woodlands (26-2 overall) finished 7-1, losing only the semifinals to the Jaguars. Teri Wade's Highlanders placed two players on the All-Tournament team, seniors Clara Brower (setter) and Dylan Maberry (outside hitter).
Southlake Carroll (18-4) finished fourth at Volleypalooza, compiling a 7-2 record while losing to Dawson in the tourney semis. Teresa Dunn's squad put two on the All-Tournament list: senior middle blocker Annabelle Smith and junior libero Keagan Polk.
Lucas Lovejoy (8-1 in the tournament; 25-4 overall) rounded out the Volleypalooza Top Five. Ryan Mitchell's Leopards lost to Dawson in the quarterfinals, then rallied to beat Prosper and Churchill to finish out the tourney. Sophomore setter Averi Carlson was named the tournament's Outstanding Setter while junior teammate Cecily Bramschrieber earned All-Tournament honors.
Other teams that will be ranked in the Top 15 in the state include Churchill (sixth at Volleypalooza with a 6-3 tournament record); Prosper (5-3, tied for seventh) and Rouse (6-2, tied for seventh); Canyon Randall (ninth, 8-1, winner of the Silver Bracket title); Dripping Springs (10th at Volleypalooza, 6-3); Clark (11th, 7-2); and Mansfield (6-3, 12th).
Volleypalooza All-Tournament Team
Award, Name, School (Year)
MVP: Kaylee Cox, Flower Mound (Jr)
Offensive MVP: Alexia Jones, Dawson (Sr)
Defensive MVP: Dahlia Miller, Dawson (Sr)
Setter MVP: Averi Carlson, Lovejoy (Soph)
Angelique Cyr, OH, Flower Mound (Jr)
Hailey Hutchings, MB, Flower Mound (Jr)
Aliyah McDonald, MB, Dawson (Sr)
Dylan Maberry, OH, The Woodlands (Sr)
Clara Brower, Setter, The Woodlands (Sr)
Julia Lopez, Libero, Churchill (Jr)
Lourdes Gomez, OH, Churchill (Jr)
Brianna Ford, OH, Randall (Sr)
Cecily Bramschrieber, OH, Lovejoy (Jr)
Grayson Schirpik, OH, Rouse (Sr)
Reilly Heinrich, Libero, Rouse (Sr)
Sami Jacobs, OH, Prosper (Jr)
Bailey Birmingham, OH, Prosper (Jr)
Annabelle Smith, MB, SL Carroll (Sr)
Keagan Polk, Libero, SL Carroll (Jr)