Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Notebook: Plano's volleyball season a series of ups and downs
The Plano volleyball team has pinballed in and out of the area top 10 this season, winning big games and suffering some surprising defeats.
The past week, though, has been a good one for Plano, losing only one set in victories against No. 9 Allen and McKinney.
“Everybody asks me ‘What’s different?’” Plano coach Teri Minnis said. “I have no idea. It’s just working right now. It wasn’t working early on, but it’s working now.”
Plano fell out of the area top 10 on Sept. 26 after being swept in its final two non-district matches against Coppell and Hebron. It responded with three wins in a row to jump back in at No. 7 on Oct. 3.
Plano fell back out last week after a loss to rival Plano West, but returned to a spot at No. 8 on Thursday after its solid performances of the past week.
Minnis is confident the team can carry this form through the regular season and into the playoffs.
“We’re doing much better with our serve-receive,” Minnis said. “We forgot how to pass against West, and we have moments like that. But I think overall our passing has gotten much better. And it should continue to get better since we work on it every day.”
Senior hitter Kylie Long has been the recipient of most of those passes. She’s recorded 363 kills this season, which ranks eighth among the area’s 5A leaders. She ranks fourth with 3.7 kills per game.
Plano, which finished second behind state semifinalist McKinney Boyd last season, still has a long way to go to win a district title. It must face No. 9 Allen and No. 10 McKinney Boyd again, and it will have a rematch against Plano West on Oct. 25.
“We weren’t really ready for Plano West to come out and fight against us the way they did,” Minnis said. “We weren’t ready and we weren’t confident. We needed to get beat down a little bit to drive the point home: We have got to come out and fight every night.”
Hebron, Flower Mound take top spots at Rick Neill Memorial: The Hebron and Flower Mound cross country teams notched top-two team finishes in each division Saturday in the Rick Neill Memorial at Lake Park in Lewisville.
The Hebron boys scored 59 points for first place, followed by Flower Mound with 68 points. The Flower Mound girls placed first with 54 points, edging out Hebron with 57 points.
The Hebron boys’ team placed two runners in the top 10; Chase Van Voorhis (16:38, sixth place) and Brad White (17:01, 10th place). The Flower Mound girls’ team placed three runners in the top 10; Safiya-Hana Belbina (18:20, first place), Cassidy Allen (19:28, fifth place) and Brittany White (19:45, seventh place).
Wylie East, Forney claim titles at The Dustin Rodriguez Run: Wylie played host to the The Dustin Rodriguez Run Saturday, where the Wylie East boys and Forney girls earned team victories.
The Wylie East boys’ team placed three runners in the top 10; Grant Buley (16:22, first place), Edwin Walker (16:40, second place) and Njie’E Cooper (17:36, seventh place). Wylie East scored 45 points. Rockwall finished second with 70 points.
The Forney girls’ team represented half of the top 10 finishers: Caylon McMillan (19:13, first place), Kiana Hawn (19:37, second place), Lauryen Barrientos (19:54, third place), Christa Holland (21:43, eighth place) and Bailey Roe (21:59, ninth place). Forney earned 21 points, with North Mesquite trailing in second with 58 points.
Staff writer Kyle Fredrickson contributed to this report.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.