Volleyball: Mustangs hope to go further
Cy Ranch volleyball knows how important a district opener is.
The Lady Mustangs outlasted Jersey Village 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 15-7 in last year's 17-5A opener, and that district victory, along with 10 others that included a sweep of Jersey Village in the second meeting, carried Cy Ranch to the playoffs.
The fourth-place finish behind district champion Cy Woods, runner-up Cy-Fair, and Cy Falls led to a bidistrict playoff triumph over Elsik in only the second varsity season (and first with seniors) for the Lady Mustangs.
Arley Pustejovsky was the assistant coach for Cy Ranch, and now, after marriage, she's Arley Kocher and in charge as the Lady Mustangs' new head coach.
"It helps having been with the team since the first season (2009) and knowing the players," Kocher said following a 5-3 start. "I'm pleased with the way they're playing, and the team chemistry is good, so there have been a lot of positives."
Cy Ranch swept Clear Springs in the season opener and went 4-2 at the Cy-Fair ISD Tournament beating Klein Collins, Spring, Cy Creek and Klein Oak, and falling to Cy Falls and in a second meeting with Klein Collins.
Between tournament action, the Lady Mustangs also faced 2010 state semifinalist The Woodlands on Friday, Aug. 12, and took the first game 29-27 before falling 25-17, 25-22, 25-22.
"We battled hard, and in all of the matches, whether we won or lost, it was a good learning experience," Kocher said. "Overall, it wasn't a bad start, and even though there are things to work on, we played well."
Senior outside hitter Chelsea Spurlock had 20 kills against The Woodlands, and in last year's district opener, she put down 29 against Jersey Village.
Other senior leaders are setter Taylor McClelland, outside hitter Shannon Wilson, middle blocker Kristin Kirk, libero-defensive specialist Laura Paonessa, outside hitter Kirsten Mamaux, right side Lauren Bratton and defensive specialist Meredith Pruitt.
"Just about all of our seniors have started and lettered, so there is some solid experience there," Kocher said, "and the veterans are mixing well with the new players."
Juniors Emily Martin (setter), Rachel Grier (outside hitter) and Emily Billingsley (defensive specialist-libero) also played on last year's playoff team, and along with the seniors, are helping to bring junior Michaela Touchet (defensive specialist-libero) and freshman Shelley Fanning (MB) into the fold.
The Lady Mustangs are open late this week (Aug. 18-20) and plan to hang out together on and off the court.
"We'll have some serious bonding time, and we'll be able to get in some practices heading into the district opener," Kocher said.
"We know Jersey Village is going to be fired up, and it's the first of 18 very tough matches in a long district race."
Early district matches are intermingled with events like the Aug. 25-27 Pearland Classic, and Sept. 1 and 3 Kingwood Tournament, and Cy Ranch competes in both.
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