Golden Eagles seek level flight
By L. SCOTT HAINLINE
An up-and-down early-season ride is leveling off for the Cy Falls Golden Eagles, and it's just in time for coach Kathy Stephenson.
I told them to get off the roller coaster because I was getting a little dizzy," said Stephenson, who is in her 18th season with Cy Falls, and led the Lady Golden Eagles to the 2000 Class 5A state championship.
The team regained its focus recently, and the players are really maturing into a lot of new roles."
Cy Falls graduated a large number of seniors, and many had been varsity regulars for three years.
The returning players are playing different roles, and that's a lot of new responsibilities on your shoulders, and it can be a heavy load, especially when you're not used to it," Stephenson said. We had some great leaders over the past few seasons, and now we're trying to groom some new ones, and a few positions."
Senior Caitlyn Cleveland has shifted from outside hitter to setter since last season, and it's a move that's paid off.
Cleveland is a strong leader on the court, and she's handling the setting while we continue to work with some of the new setters," Stephenson said. We have (senior) Jennifer Smith, and (juniors) Jaclyn Johnson, Jenna Rutan and Leonie Schuurmans working hard at setting to help the team.
It's one of our early challenges we're still working through."
Juniors Chanel Clark-Bibbs and Alexis Austin are 6-1 middle blockers, and described by Stephenson as the team's big hitters," along with 5-10 senior middle blocker Courtney Smith and 5-9 junior attacker Kim Brooks.
We're bigger than we've been, and that's a plus, but a lot of the players continue to settle into the varsity game," Stephenson said. That's what the early part of the season is all about."
Senior outside hitter Sofia Klepper has seen action in early combinations, that at times have also included seniors Emily Hardin and Tori Voight, and juniors Erin Spivey and Morgan Walsh.
Cy Falls swept Cy Springs 25-9, 25-17, 25-16 in a District 17-5A opener last week with Clark-Bibbs' nine kills topping the team charts.
The girls were really positive about opening district with a win," Stephenson said, and we had another keystone win coming back after being down 0-2 to Kingwood earlier in the season, and it's part of how the team is learning and improving.
I'm really blessed to have a team that likes each other, and to have great parents. It makes it a joy to coach."
Cy Falls hosts Langham Creek at 6 p.m. Tuesday and visits top-ranked Cy Woods at 6 p.m. Friday as district play gets into full swing this week.
There are only four playoff spots, and a number of good teams like the front-runner, Cy Woods," Stephenson said. Cy Creek always gets it together and plays well in district, Cy-Fair is very steady, Cy Ranch is salty, and Jersey Village and Langham Creek have had moments of greatness.
I've also seen Cy Ridge, Cy Lakes and Cy Ranch play well, and the bottom line is you always have to be at your best if you want to be successful and have a chance to advance.
It boils down to who is most consistent and can minimize the errors."
And Stephenson is hoping that, with the early season error bug out of the way, that team will be her Lady Golden Eagles.
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