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Varsity Volleyball Remains Undefeated in District Play, Take District Title

By Grant Dunwoody, 10/30/23, 7:32PM CDT

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Varsity (36-6, 13-0 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. 11 among Texas 6A schools in the prestigious Texas Volleyball Insiders rankings

 

vs. Jersey Village

In its final regular season match, and final match of District play, Varsity hosted Jersey Village. The Falcons had secured 3rd place in District play, but looked to give the Spartans their first District loss. Stratford Nation was joined by young fans from Meadow Wood and Sherwood Elementary schools, whose enthusiastic support for the Spartans livened the atmosphere greatly.

But before that could be decided, Varsity took time to celebrate the many accomplishments and bright futures of its seniors. Jaelyn Chen, Sophie Corbeil, Emma Dunwoody, Audrey Hilberth, Ashley Jones, Addy Lanning, Chloe Nguyen, Chloe Popkin, Izzy Rodriguez, Kiki Sykes, and Hailey Tacker and their families were introduced, and each senior shared stories of and tributes to their teammates, families, and time as Spartans. The ceremony was pulled off through the time, energy, and creativity of ‚Äčour underclassmen Varsity parents, whose efforts were greatly appreciated. After a rousing rendition of the National Anthem by Emma Dunwoody, the teams took to the court to finish out District play.

Jersey Village came out ready to play, taking advantage of several tip plays to open up a lead. Scores by Sophie CorbeilChloe PopkinHailey TackerEmma Dunwoody, and Ashley Jones kept it close. Down 8-14, Stratford woke up. Tacker and Corbeil teamed up for a pair of blocks, and Dunwoody and Sarah Hickman followed with a block of their own. CorbielJones, and Popkin then followed with kills to finally take a 19-18 lead. The Spartans would shut out the Falcons the rest of the way to prevail 25-18.

In the second set, Stratford started out quicker, jumping to a 5-4 lead on scores by Ashley JonesChloe Popkin, and Audrey Cook. It was a lead they would keep throughout. A booming Audrey Hilberth block forced a Falcon timeout at 14-9. Coming out of the break, Stratford extended the lead, and kills by Emma Dunwoody and Sophie Corbeil forced Jersey Village to burn yet another timeout at 21-14. Jones closed things out with a kill at 25-18.

Varsity jumped on top of things again in the third set, with a pair of Emma Dunwoody blocks, a Hailey Tacker kill, and a Sarah Hickman/Tacker combo block. A Chloe Popkin ace and an Audrey Cook dump set forcing a timeout with Stratford up 10-4. Scores by Ashley JonesTacker, and Avery Kent and several defensive saves by Izzy Rodriguez helped keep things out of reach for the Falcons. Once again, Stratford prevailed 25-18 in the third and final set.

The victory sealed Stratford's second straight undefeated season in District play. Principal Barnes joined the players and Coach Adcock on the court for the Championship trophy presentation, and the team enjoyed an extended celebration on the court with friends and family. While there was time to enjoy the Championship, the prep work for playoffs was soon to begin.

vs. Fulshear

On Friday, Varsity played a non-District game against Fulshear, the No. 7 ranked 5A program. Both teams scheduled the matchup once they had qualified for the playoffs. While Fulshear used the matchup to get reps for their starters, Stratford looked to mix up their lineup, experiment to find working combinations, and give some of the newly promoted JV players a chance to get used to the speed of Varsity playoff volleyball. Both teams benefitted from having a high-level playoff caliber opponent to work against. Fulshear prevailed in three closely fought sets, 25-27, 23-25, 21-25 to put a wrap on the regular season.

PLAYOFF GAME ALERT - Varsity plays its Bi-District matchup AT DON COLEMAN on Monday, October 30 at 5:00 pm against Heights High School. Let's get a crowd there and get this playoff run going.

GO SPARTANS!

This week’s stats include:

Rachel Ashby – 7 digs

Jaelyn Chen – 39 assists, 12 digs

Audrey Cook – 11 assists, 2 digs

Sophie Corbeil – 2 aces, 15 kills (.214 hitting efficiency), 4 blocks, 7 digs

Emma Dunwoody – 10 kills (.304 hitting efficiency), 5 blocks, 4 digs

Sarah Hickman – 7 kills (.190 hitting efficiency), 4 blocks

Audrey Hilberth – 2 blocks

Ashley Jones – 18 kills (.531 hitting efficiency), 3 blocks, 4 digs

Chloe Popkin – 2 aces, 17 kills (.157 hitting efficiency), 17 digs

Izzy Rodriguez – 21 digs, 5 assists

Kiki Sykes – 15 assists

Hailey Tacker – 8 kills (.636 hitting efficiency), 5 blocks