Cy Woods carries on without star in volleyball playoffs
When Cypress Woods outside hitter Daniela Arenas broke a finger on her right hand during practice before the last game of the regular season, a lot of questions filled the air about the area's top-ranked Wildcats.
Those questions were quickly answered as Cy Woods (45-2) roared through the playoffs and beat some of the area's finest to win the Class 5A Region III title and capture a spot at the state tournament in San Marcos.
"When Daniela got hurt, it was a big hit for us," senior Carla Armstrong said. "She is a great player but also has been the leader of this team."
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to move on, though. Arenas was back at practice immediately and in the huddle of every timeout of every game making sure her presence was felt.
"It isn't like we lost a player, it's like we lost half of one," coach Ashley Ahlfinger said. "We don't have her on the court, but we still have her determination and passion, and it shows."
Arenas, who signed with Rice last week, is still as involved as she can be with a red cast on her right hand. She's a fixture at every practice, game and team meeting, and she says that since her injury the team chemistry has only become stronger.
"This wasn't a team that had one player on it," Arenas said. "They want to show that, and I know that they can win without me. I am happy they are showing other people that this really is a team."
This will be Cy Woods' first trip to state in just its fourth year of varsity competition. The Wildcats take on Lewisville Hebron on Friday.
The players say the goal is to keep doing what they have been all season.
"We don't want to get there and be nervous," junior Sarah Nielson said. "People might not think we are ready since we are still a new school, but I think we have a lot to prove."
While the challenge is a big one, Ahlfinger just wants her players to take it all in.
"The second they aren't having fun out there is when I have failed as a coach," she said. "The greatest thing about this team is that they are all so close. ... I want them to enjoy this experience so much."
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