Wow, the Lady Cardinals made a little history this week by reaching the Gold Bracket of the Texas Volleyball Invitational...for the first time in school history! And how they did it was even more impressive!
Entering the tournament seeded 61st of 88 teams, Bellaire was picked to finish 3rd in their pool with New Braunfels (17th), Boswell (28th) and Lake Highlands (72nd). The Cardinals started with a blistering pace; knocking off the Unicorns from New Braunfels (25-20, 25-16). And they just got hotter! The team from Boswell fell to Bellaire in straight sets (25-20, 25-21). Finally, the Lady Cardinals competed the day with a third match sweep of Lake Highlands (25-11, 25-22). The Cardinals won the pool and made it into the Gold Bracket.
The next day the Bellaire faced the first of three powerful teams from the Dallas area with the Cowgirls from Coppel The Cardinals led in both sets; but, eventual tournament MVP, Coppel's Jamie Stivers, pushed her team ahead in the final points (25-22, 25-21). This match was clearly one of Bellaire's most competitive and best played in the tournament. The Cardinals' first loss came at the hands of the eventual Pearland tournament champion. After Coppel, a familiar foe step onto the court; Clear Lake. Undeterred by the earlier loss, the Cardinals swept the very competitive Clear Lake team (25-17, 25-20). Bellaire will see this same Clear Lake team back in the nest on Maple Street next week. The second day of the Pearland tournament was inspired and created a lot of confidence within the Cardinal players.
The third and final day of the tournament continued to be challenging as Bellaire played out their Gold Bracket schedule. First up were the Jaguars from Flower Mound Texas. This Dallas suburb team came with big hitters and sold defense across the back. Filled with confidence from the previous day, the Lady Cardinals dismissed a very competitive Flower Mound High team (25-17, 25-17). Next up was another heavy hitting team from Dallas; Highland Park. The Cardinals took the first set from the Scots and led mid-way through the second set. But passing and defensive gaps gave the Highland Park Socts enough room to take the second set. As momentum swung back and forth between the teams, it appeared fatigue might be having an impact. The Lady Cardinals battled; but, gave up the third set and the match (24-26, 25-21, 25-20). The final match of the tournament for the Bellaire Cardinals was against Reagen from San Antonio. This match saw the entire tournament roster make it to the floor and compete against a very good team.
Coach Clarke said after the tournament, "I'm very proud of how we competed this weekend and we made a little program history along the way." "We build confidence and we discovered some things about us."
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