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Lady Mustangs overcome challenges on way to state

Courtesy Photo
The Houston volleyball team swept Arlington last Thursday in the Class AAA Sectionals to earn a right to compete at the state level. Two days earlier, the Lady Mustangs swept White Station in the Regional finals.
Courtesy Photo The Houston volleyball team swept Arlington last Thursday in the Class AAA Sectionals to earn a right to compete at the state level. Two days earlier, the Lady Mustangs swept White Station in the Regional finals.

Courtesy Photo
The Houston volleyball team swept Arlington last Thursday in the Class AAA Sectionals to earn a right to compete at the state level. Two days earlier, the Lady Mustangs swept White Station in the Regional finals.

A work in progress is the best description of this year’s version of Houston Volleyball.

After losing seven seniors, all of which earned volleyball scholarships, Head Coach Becky Pendleton was a different position than last year’s team won District, Region and Sectional Championships while finishing fourth at the State Tournament.

She would need to take several inexperienced players and mold them into a championship caliber team. Developing a consistency and reinforcing the traits necessary for her program to make it’s 10th consecutive trip to the State Tournament were her objectives.

Heading into the Finals of the District Tournament against Collierville, Pendleton had the team playing some of their most inspired volleyball of the season.

From the outset, their level of energy and focus were visible. Signified both by the passing and lack of unforced errors.

“We rolled thru games one and two with little resistance,” Pendleton said. “We played like a team with a singular mindset, one that would accept only a single outcome – a championship.”

Game three began with Collierville attempting to make a statement, trying to channel some of the magic from their regular season win. But even though they built a lead as large as eight points, the team from the regular season was not across the net from them anymore.

But Junior Sarah Fleisher, who ended with nine kills and two blocks, stemmed the tide and helped regain momentum.

In the end, it was a team that learned from their mid-season mistakes and experienced what so many volleyball teams of the past have enjoyed – the thrill of victory.

Pendleton said, “I knew we would be ready. We have worked very, very hard on the things that keep teams from winning. Tonight, we showed what we can be.”