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Varsity Volleyball Gets Two More Wins, Goes 13-0 in District

By Grant Dunwoody, 10/25/23, 9:00AM CDT


Varsity (34-0, 11-0 in District) started the week:

  • No. 3 among Houston area 6A teams by VYPE
  • No. 4 in the Houston Chronicle ranking among all local 6A public schools, and
  • No. 15 among Texas 6A schools in the prestigious Texas Volleyball Insiders rankings.


vs. Cy Ridge

First up Tuesday Varsity traveled to Cy Ridge, which is battling for the District’s final playoff spot. A pair of Sarah Hickman kills and a pair of combo blocks by Emma Dunwoody and Avery Kent lifted Stratford to an early lead in the first set. A combo block by Hickman and Hailey Tacker and a pair of thunderous kills by Chloe Popkin forced the Rams to call a timeout with the score 12-5.

Coming out of the break, the Spartans didn’t let up. Scores by TackerHickmanPopkinDunwoodyKentSophie Corbiel, and Jaelyn Chen helped Stratford to cruise to a 25-14 set win

Varsity opened up the second set strong, with points by Sarah HickmanHailey Tacker, and Chloe Popkin, the latter of which was made possible by a quick-thinking save by Audrey Cook. Cy Ridge came back to tie it three times in the middle of the set, the last of which was 14-14.

Stratford outscored Cy Ridge 11-7 the rest of the way to capture the set 25-21, bolstered by points from HickmanCookEmma DunwoodyAvery Kent, and Chloe Popkin. While the scoring was spread around once again thanks to excellent setting by Cook and Jaelyn Chen, the Rams were particularly vexed in the second set by Hickman, who scored 9 of Stratford’s 25 points.

The third set was never in doubt. Varsity raced out to a lead on the strength of points by Hailey TackerSophie CorbeilSarah HickmanEmma DunwoodyRachel Ashby, and Chloe Popkin before the Rams were forced to burn a timeout at 10-3. A Dunwoody kill and 4-point service run made it 15-5. Scores by CorbeilAvery Kent, and Addy Lanning made it 19-9. From there, Dunwoody and Ashley Jones closed things out with a 6-point run of blocks and kills.

The win clinched Stratford’s second straight District title. And while the team paused to take pictures to celebrate the moment, a sense of unfinished business hovered in the air. A second undefeated District season was still on the table, and preparation for a playoff run lay ahead. But first, it was time to take on Memorial in the 024.

vs. Memorial

Varsity came out on fire, building an 8-1 lead and forcing a Mustang timeout on kills by Sophie Corbeil and Sarah Hickman, and a statement-making back-row slam by Chloe Popkin. A Corbeil tip, combo block from Hickman and Emma Dunwoody, and a Corbeil slam off a precision set from Audrey Cook had Memorial burning its second timeout at 18-12. While the Mustangs' net play kept them in the set with a series of blocks, the Spartans kept the lead the rest of the way, and finished the set 25-22 on a sneaky dump set by Audrey Cook.

Hailey Tacker and Sarah Hickman powered Varsity to an early 6-1 Spartan lead and a Mustang timeout in the second set. Avery Kent and Chloe Popkin joined in the scoring, with a Popkin ace forcing a second Mustang timeout at 17-11. Scores and blocks from KentHickmanEmma Dunwoody, and Sophie Corbeil finished off the set 25-14.

Sophie CorbeilSarah HickmanHailey Tacker, and Emma Dunwoody scores in the third set led to yet another early Memorial timeout. A pair of kills by Dunwoody as well as kills by Corbeil and Avery Kent, made possible by diving saves by Izzy Rodriguez, advanced things further until a Chloe Nguyen ace made the score 15-7 and another Mustang timeout. Multiple scores by CorbeilHickman, and Chloe Popkin and a block from Dunwoody and Avery Kent brought the Spartans to within  striking distance of closing it out at 22-16. Kills by Avery Kent and Sarah Hickman brought things to match point. On a teed-up set from Audrey CookChloe Popkin skied forward and slammed the exclamation point on the season sweep of Memorial.

This coming week Varsity (36-6, 13-0 in District) hosts Jersey Village on Tuesday at 5:30 pm for our final home game of the season. The game will also be Senior Night when we will celebrate the many accomplishments and bright futures of our seniors: Jaelyn ChenSophie Corbeil, Emma Dunwoody, Audrey Hilberth, Ashley JonesAddy LanningChloe Nguyen, Chloe PopkinIzzy RodriguezKiki Sykes, and Hailey Tacker. Please join us for this special evening for one last home game before Varsity launches its playoff run.



This week’s stats include:

Rachel Ashby – 9 digs, 2 aces

Jaelyn Chen – 26 assists, 4 digs

Audrey Cook – 40 assists, 19 digs, 5 kills (.833 hitting efficiency)

Sophie Corbeil – 20 kills (.442 hitting efficiency), 2 blocks, 7 digs

Emma Dunwoody – 13 kills (.500 hitting efficiency), 12 blocks, 3 digs

Sarah Hickman – 21 kills (.500 hitting efficiency), 7 blocks, 7 digs

Avery Kent – 11 kills (.364 hitting efficiency), 6 blocks, 2 digs

Chloe Popkin – 16 kills (.174 hitting efficiency), 3 aces, 15 digs

Izzy Rodriguez – 24 digs, 11 assists

Hailey Tacker – 6 kills (.316 hitting efficiency), 6 blocks