2014 Season Announcements
2014 Season Announcements
Bellaire was well represented with post season honors after a post-season win and sweeping every opponent in District 20-6A - twice. Bellaire’s return to reign over District 20-6A delivered Coach Ap Clarke her 13th District Coach of The Year recognition. In reference to being named Coach of The Year, Coach Clarke replied; “I didn’t make a pass, finish a kill or serve an ace against a single opponent this season; this is all about a team with very good players and I'm just very appreciative of the opportunity to help them.”
The most notable recognition was senior Libero, Katie Fairbanks named as District 20-6A’s 2015 Player of The Year. As a third year varsity player, Katie was a defensive stalwart across the back row; achieving 2.7/3.0 passing rating. Coach Clarke said; “it all begins with a pass; and for us, it began with Katie. She was not only an excellent player on the court; but, she was a role model for our program. Katie represented everything we want Bellaire Volleyball players to achieve in the classroom, on the court and in the community." Academically, Fairbanks is one of Bellaire’s top students. As a first team all district selection last year, she has consistently played at a high level on the court. Clarke added; "As a team captain this year, her leadership helped enabled this group, especially the younger girls, to become an excellent team. I’m so proud of Katie and will enjoy watching her succeed in the future.”
Both of Bellaire’s other team captains, senior Claire Smith and senior Brianna Wilson, received First Team All District recognition. “Both of these outside hitters often led the team in kills and blocks; but, when we needed someone to come through at a critical time; we turned to these two. And they delivered!” said Clarke. “But; I’m most proud of them in the way they have matured as people. They have very different personalities; which complemented the team chemistry. They both have learned how to recognize the opportunities to use their personal strengths to bring out the best in their teammates.” Senior Morgan Jackson and senior Makayla Molock received Honorable Mention All District recognition. “Over the last four years, both these ladies have made a difference in Bellaire Volleyball;” said Clarke. “Every time Morgan and Makayla stepped on the floor; I could count on the them to compete and push the team up to a higher level. They have the qualities which will make them successful after Bellaire Volleyball. I’m very happy these players received this very deserving recognition.”
In addition to these five seniors; three Bellaire Volleyball juniors received All-District honors: junior Right-Side Sundara Chinn, junior Middle Travanna Matthews and junior Outside Hitter Jade Robinson. “These juniors represent the fire-power of the future.” Clarke commented. “I expect a lot from these ladies next year; I expect to see them lead this team and bring our district reign forward for another year.”
Bellaire Volleyball is loaded with talent, as 5 underclassmen were named to All District teams; sophomores Ella Hawes and the sisters Megan and Maya Evans along with freshmen Kennadie Jake-Turner and Isabelle Long. “These sophomores and freshmen create the core for our future.” said Clarke. “These underclassmen will set the offense, provide the defensive strength and control the middle. All of them made huge contributions in our starting rotation.”
In 2015, the entire Bellaire Volleyball program performed at a remarkably high level. The varsity team went on remarkable 51 set consecutive win streak; sweeping every district opponent twice and Katy Taylor in the first round of the playoffs. The Bellaire Volleyball Freshmen and JV teams both finished their district schedules undefeated. And, 13 Bellaire players received All-District honors, 8 of whom will return next year. When asked about returning to coach Bellaire Volleyball for another year; Coach Clarke answered: “Are you kidding me? With so much talent and so many great players; next year, the expectations will be very very high. I wouldn't miss it.”
The future is very bright for Bellaire Volleyball.
The highlight of the evening came with each senior taking center stage to speak about their experiences in the Bellaire Volleyball program. Every year this part of the ceremony is an emotional experience for the players, coaches and families. Each senior, Meagan Applebaum, Katie Fairbanks, Morgan Jackson, Nina Le, Makayla Molock, Claire Smith, and Brianna Wilson all struck an emotional chord in the room with their heartfelt messages of thanks and appreciation. Congratulations Senior Lady Cardinals, you have added to the history and experience which is Bellaire Volleyball. You will be missed and remembered for may years to come.
Last night, the Bellaire Volleyball celebrated the 2014 season in style. The annual banquet recognizes the accomplishments of players, teams, coaches and honors the seniors at the conclusion of their final high school volleyball experience. The Banquet was held in the main ballroom of the Breaburn Country Club. On hand was the 2014 District 20-6A Championship Trophy which highlighted the elegant banquet room appointed in Bellaire High's team colors of Cardinal Red and Coal Black. Bellaire Volleyball supporters, families and players enjoyed a 3 course meal during the banquet presentations. In keeping with tradition, this year's banquet candy bar did not disappoint; as players rushed the table at the end of the evening.Master of Ceremonies, Booster Club President, Troy Smith began the evening welcoming the Bellaire Volleyball families and recognizing the Booster Club Board before welcoming Freshmen Head Coach Kelli Tomlinson to the podium. In her first year as a head coach, Tomlinson led her freshmen team to an undefeated district championship despite starting the season 0-5. This remarkable turnaround to dominate the district was recounted by Coach Tomlinson. As each freshmen player was recognized and called to the front of the room, Coach Tomilinson thanked the players and commended them on a hugely successful season. Next up was JV head coach Melissa Martin addressed the outstanding performance of her JV squad. The JV team had simply dominated this season. A team filled with upperclassmen, the JV program has positioned Bellaire Volleyball to continue dominating competition in the future. As Coach Martin called each JV player forward, she recognizing them for how they finished the district schedule undefeated, dropping only a single set. She praised the leadership observed on the court and thanked the players for their contributions. When Bellaire Volleyball Program director and Varsity Head Coach stepped to the podium, there was something waiting for her that wasn't there last year - the District 20-6A Championship Trophy. Coach Clarke praised all the players in the program as each of their teams finished undefeated in district. She also thanked new Assistant Varsity Coach Todd Kolkhorst for his contributions to the varsity's success. The Varsity Cardinals won their district by sweeping every opponent in three sets, twice (16-0 match / 48-0 set) achieving a perfect district championship. These teams had returned Bellaire to it's rightfully place as district champions at all levels. In the post season, Bellaire beat Katy Taylor by doing what they had done in district ...a three set sweep. Coach Clarke recognized her varsity squad of 2 freshmen, 3 sophomores, 4 Juniors and 7 very special seniors and thanked them for an outstanding job. After the banquet, Coach Clarke said; "This was a very special year in so many ways; but, the part I enjoyed the most was how this group of ladies played for each other. There was no drama; just heart and togetherness. I'm very proud of how our seniors have matured into wonderfully strong and confident women."
The 2014 freshmen season started off on a very rocky note. Tryouts did not yield a clear front runner at setter. Additionally, a couple of the athletes were initially limited by injuries, And, as with every group of freshman, the transition from their middle school volleyball program to into a faster and more sophisticated brand of high school volleyball, required some getting use to. First year Freshmen Coach Kelli Tomlinson said; "It took a few weeks for our girls to grow comfortable with one another, feeling out who was willing to put her body between the floor and the ball and who was going to chase down those seemingly impossible balls"
It was a tough start for the Freshmen Team; as they went 0-5 to start the 2014 season. Like so many things in high school, the start is often the most difficult part. Bellaire Volleyball purposefully schedules their most difficult competitions at the beginning of the season. The first matches are against some of the best programs in Houston. "We want our freshmen to understand a player's mental approach to competition has a huge impact on their team’s success." said Tomlinson. "We want them to understand very early on, in high school, everyone on the court has skills and everyone knows how to play. You have to bring your best every time and stay mentally strong throughout the match." In the freshman program, especially early in the season, players are in different rotations, playing multiple roles and learning a multitude of in-system attacks, out-of-system recoveries and defensive executions. The freshmen are asked to raise their volleyball IQ and execution against very good competition - very early. Coach Tomlinson said; "Early on, we expect to see inconsistent execution on the court; but, by the start of district, these freshmen had not shown the killer instinct at a level we expect Bellaire teams to have."
Throughout the year, the freshmen worked on playing their game; that is, being more aggressive, executing the system correctly and playing more confidentially. Tomlinson has preached; "I don't expect every play to be successful; but, I do expect every ball to be played." By the end of the preseason, the effort on the floor steadily improved as volleys became longer with cleaner execution. The player rotation was stabilizing and becoming routine. As Bellaire entered the district schedule, Coach Tomlinson continued to push her team for more competitive intensity throughout the competition; "You can't get up on a team and allow yourself to get comfortable. You have to hit them while they're down, because the good teams will slowly, but, surely chip away at you."
This was never more apparent against rival Lamar High School. Significantly behind in the first set, Bellaire rallied late; losing the set 24-26. In the second set, the Cardinals fell behind again; but this time they rallied to a win 26-24. At the start of third, tie-breaking set, the Lady Cardinals and Lamar Texans understood they were about to write another verse in the long standing rivalry between their schools. Throughout their high school careers, players from the class of 2018 will remember this match each time they step on the court to compete again. The Cardinal freshmen demonstrated the mental toughness, killer instinct and volleyball skills Coach Tomlinson had preached throughout the season and what Bellaire Volleyball is known for. In the third set to 15 points, Bellaire beat Lamar 30-28; winning the match. "That Larmar match proved everything we've been working on this year" said Coach Tomlinson. "They finally played Bellaire Volleyball; and, I think they finally understood what it takes to play that way"
The freshman team went on to go undefeated throughout District 20-6A; only dropping sets in the two matches against Lamar. The volleyball players from the class of 2018 recognize Bellaire Volleyball’s standard and realized the Lady Cardinal tradition of dominating every team in District 20. Coach Tomlinson addressed team development; "In the final games, these freshmen showed great heart; more than I ever could have asked for. I wish I had recorded them on day one and been able to show them their progression throughout the season. Every single player made tremendous improvements, and every single player has a whole lot of which to be proud!"
The 2014 season for the Bellaire Volleyball JV program made important achievements in the two areas, developing competitiveness and dominating the district schedule. Prior to the start of district competition, Bellaire Volleyball competes against teams consider as some of the most competitive in Houston. This approach allows teams and players to execute faster and defend more sophisticated attacks. JV players have made the highest commitment to volleyball and the JV program has committed to developing players’ skills and volleyball IQ to ensure Bellaire Volleyball continued dominance in volleyball.
In 2014, Coach Martin returned to lead the JV program after a year as freshmen head coach; prior to that, she coached the JV program. This gave Coach Martin a an in-depth understanding of the sophomores (last year’s Freshmen) and the juniors on the JV roster. With a development plan and group of very experienced players, they JV program competed in one of the most difficult preseasons in recent history. Going into district competition, the JV team had a losing record at 3-5 and a second place finish in the Brazoswood tournament. Coach Martin addressed the JV team’s preseason performance; “We play a sophisticated brand of volleyball which demands a high level of commitment and performance. We ask, and expect, the more experienced players to demonstrate leadership. Every year, we play some very good teams before starting district play and this year we came out with a losing record and it was tough. But, it gave our more experienced players an opportunity to demonstrate some mental toughness and take the lead in bringing the team together. For the less experienced girls, it was an opportunity to learn our system, to learn to trust our approach and test their commitment to volleyball and develop some mental toughness of their own.”
The JV team entered the district schedule with dominating execution. The game was now slower and playing on Maple street fueled additional confidence into the JV squad. The experience of winning in opponent’s gyms will be a valuable next year when many of these players enter the varsity program. “As a coaching staff, we knew these girls were good players and would dominate in district; but, facing difficult challenges in the preseason and in opponent’s gyms is a critical experience in developing these ladies into high performing volleyball players.” said Martin. As expected the JV team crushed district opponents and finished the district undefeated in match play (16-0).
The JV Lady Cardinals District Championship By The Numbers
The future is very bright for Bellaire Volleyball as another group of quality players progresses through the system.
Thursday night, the 2014 Bellaire Volleyball season came to a close after the Lady Cardinals lost to the Cy-Ranch Mustangs in the Area stage of UIL’s volleyball playoffs. The Lady Cardinals competed very well against one of Houston’s most elite teams. A lively crowd of Mustang students and supporters filled the Cypress Ranch High School Gym to watch their veteran team and standout All American, middle blocker, Shelly Fanning. In what was the most difficult place Bellaire has been asked to compete in all season; the Lady Cardinals were surprisingly strong.
Unaccustomed to entering an opponent’s school gym filled with an enthusiastic crowd, this younger Lady Cardinal team demonstrated great maturity and confidence; setting aside the intimidating environment and focusing on their game. Led by seniors Briana Wilson and Katie Fairbanks, the Bellaire Lady Cardinals quickly demonstrated they had come to compete and will be a challenge. Briana Wilson came out on fire and led the Cardinals with 9 kills. The Cardinals adapted quickly to the speed and attacked aggressively early in the first set. Senior out-sides Briana Wilson and Clair Smith delivered sharp attacks with help from sophomore middle Maya Evans and junior Travanna Matthews. Junior right-side Sundara Chinn was also aggressive; but, the veteran Cy-Ranch middles and hitters adjusted quickly to successfully disrupt the Cardinals at the net. By midway through the first set; the Mustangs were anticipating well and made key blocks. The Cardinals continued to compete, staying in system and executing quality volleyball. Free balls were uncommon amid rallies; but, the Lady Cardinals were swept by the Mustangs 25-17, 25-13, 25-10. After the match, Coach Clarke said; “I thought she [Wilson] played the best match of her senior year.” Coach Clarke also added; “I thought Katie had a great post season.” Libero, Katie Fairbanks was outstanding behind the 10 foot line; passing a remarkable 2.7 / 3.0 in the post season.
When asked about the Cardinal’s post season play, Coach Clarke said; “I was happy overall with our play considering we have not seen this type of volleyball since August.” In addition to facing a very elite and older Cy-Ranch volleyball team, the younger Cardinal players were unaccustomed to competing within the intimidating environments of opponents’ school gyms. Additionally, Bellaire did not face a serious competitive challenge throughout a district schedule; which consumed the last two-thirds of the regular season. Given these obstacles, Bellaire was the only team from the District 20-6A to win in the post season; sweeping a solid Katy Taylor team (3-0) in bi-district competition. Thursday’s loss ended a 51 set consecutive win streak going back to August 23rd as Bellaire went undefeated through district play (48-0 sets, 16-0 matches); sweeping every team…twice. When asked about the 2014 Cardinals, Coach Clarke said; “I am very happy with our season. I thought we had a lot of growth and I thoroughly enjoyed coaching these young ladies. They have been a tight knit group from day one and you could tell on the court.”
Bellaire Volleyball will celebrate a great year filled with fun and friendship and take time to honor our seniors and coaching staff. Please join us for the end of season banquet.
When: 6:00p – 9:00p on Sunday, November 16, 2014,
Where: 8101 Bissonnet, Houston TX 77074
BraeBurn Country Club (MAP)
Open Seating / Valet Parking
Check out this season's photos for each team at BellaireVolleyball.com (HERE). Please forward any photos you'd like to include in these albums. If you'd like to download these photos, just click on the Google album link, you'll need a Google account to download the photos.Go Cardinals!!!
Last night, the mighty Lady Cardinals did it again! This time, it was the Katy Taylor Mustangs who were overwhelmed by Bellaire's quick attacks and defense. In another three set sweep, the Bellaire Lady Cardinals extended their unprecedented win streak to 51 consecutive sets and 17 match sweeps. The last time the Cards dropped a set was all the way back to August 26th, the second day of school.
But, this competition was very different from the district season. The speed and pace of execution within the game was so much faster than the Cardinals have experienced recently. An undersized Katy Taylor team played smart and played fast; leading Bellaire for most of the first set. The Mustangs moved the ball quickly from point to point; making quick attacks, setter dumps and tips which kept the Cardinals out of system, passing poorly and making hitting errors. The undersized front row of Katy Taylor was able to effectively target Bellaire setter, Megan Evans, to force her in making the first touch. About halfway through the first set, Coach Clarke called a time out and pressed her Lady Cardinals to speed things up and eliminate the passing and hitting errors. The Cards quickened the pace, improved their passing and converted attacks into kills. Middle Blocker Maya Evans led the team with 15 kills. Sundara Chinn, added 10 kills of her own with several coming at momentum changing moments. Behind the line, the Cardinals performed well; missing only 2 services in the match.
For the first time in nearly two months. the Cardinals were competitively pressed; but, overcame Katy Taylor's challenge in a three set sweep of the Mustangs, 26-24, 25-17, 25-17. When Coach Clarke was asked about the match, "I thought we started too tight. We made them look better than they are. We had too many passing and hitting errors to win games. I thought we finished stronger and I am very happy for that."
Next Up for the Cardinals
The win over Katy Taylor has the Cards set to play a Mustangs of a different color: District 17-6A co-district champ, Cy-Ranch. At 6 pm Thursday night, Bellaire will take the floor at Cy-Ranch High School in what may be the most unfriendly gym they've entered this season. With only 2 losses to rival Cy-Falls, the Cy-Ranch Mustangs have crushed all the other District 19 opponents; typically in three sets. The Mustangs look to be Bellaire High's most difficult challenge this season.
Other 20-6A ActionIn bi-district competition, the other three teams from District 20-6A were quickly exited from the playoffs by 3 set sweeps. Fourth place finisher, Carnegie Vanguard averaged only 10 points per set; losing their match to Cinco Ranch; 25-13, 25-9, 25-8. Finishing third in 20-6A, Westside could only muster 27 points in straight set losses to Seven Lakes; 25-10, 25-10, 25-7. The Lamar Texans, who lost only to Bellaire in their 2014 district campaign, failed to win a set against Katy, 25-21, 25-14, 25-9. Although volleyball players are athletically comparable across 6A districts; advancing out of the first rounds of competition, requires teams to execute sophisticated offenses and defenses at much greater speeds.
In 2014, Bellaire High will be the only team advancing in the playoffs from District 20-6A.
The Bellaire Cardinals won the 2014 District 20-6A title in a perfect way.When asked about Bellaire's performance in district, Coach Ap Clarke said; "Very happy for the team. In fact all three teams. They have worked hard to accomplish this goal."
The 2014 Lady Cardinals never dropped a set in their quest for a 2014 district championship. In fact, the Cardinals didn't lose a set in the month of September or October. The varsity team routed district competition 16-0 in match play with an outstanding 48-0 undefeated record in set play. The JV was undefeated in their district campaign; while the freshman turned in a undefeated district performance as well. How about all those Lady Cardinal Volleyball players! WOW!
The JV finished their 2014 in a sweeping manner. Carnegie began the match with a resistive push; but, the Lady Cardinal strong attacks, solid defense and skillful setting was overwhelming. Bellaire's JV swept Carnegie in two sets, 25-15 25-7. The formula for this win was the same as we've seen all season; strong setters keenly distributing the ball to a bevey of highly effective hitters, all supported by ball-hawking back row players reloading the offense with pin-point passing.
Highlights from the JV's smothering performance included setters Rachel Nolte delivering 6 aces and 9 assists with Libby Lorenz 7 assists and a single ace of her own. The kill crew leaders were freshman Makenli Raspberry with 4 kills, junior middle McKenna Compton with 4 kills and 4 aces and Elle Shaw 4 kills and 2 digs. Junior Aryell Battles had 2 kills and 2 blocks with sophamore Kate Salsky adding 3 kills. The back row was locked down by Gianna Haskin with 6 digs and a kill while Kacey Rosen made 2 digs and dropped in a ace from behind the service line.
The 2014 JV team were led by a strong group of juniors; who were supported by a talented group of sophomores and standout freshmen. It made for a powerful team in 2014. When asked about this JV team, Coach Martin said; "I coached many of these ladies as freshmen last year and I've enjoyed seeing this group of ladies grow and develop their game this year. They all improved and they have performed well. Going undefeated in two rounds of district play is a solid achievement. We are all very proud of the JV team performance in 2014."
In the final regular season match against Carnegie High, the Lady Cardinals did what they have done all season long against their district opponents. Having clinched the 2014 district title, Bellaire entered the final match of the regular season looking to achieve a different goal; completing a three set sweep of every team in the district...twice. Carnegie took the floor with a mindset to avoid any sweeps; but, offered little competition to this very special Bellaire Cardinal team. The outcome was the same. The Lady Cardinals swept Carnegie in three sets 25-13, 25-9, 25-13 closing out a perfect, undefeated season. Bellaire never lost a set in 2014 district play. What a great accomplishment for the Bellaire Lady Cardinals!
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