The Union Grove Middle School Grizzlies completed a two-year championship sweep, winning the eighth-grade Killeen ISD volleyball championship match Nov. 10 over the Live Oak Ridge Lobos.
The same group won the seventh-grade final a year ago. Both years, the Grizzlies won the championship matches following undefeated 14-0 seasons.
The Liberty Hill Middle School Lions seventh-grade volleyball team also won a championship Saturday, defeating the Smith Middle School Leopards in finals tournament play at the Shoemaker High School gym.
Union Grove coach Janice Dulaney praised her team for maintaining a strong work ethic while demonstrating strong character.
“This is a special group of girls,” she said following the final match, a 25-19, 25-14 Grizzlies victory. “Obviously, they brought great skills to me coming in. They put it all together today. They were determined and they worked hard.”
There were few player changes between seventh and eighth grade and Dulaney said the girls’ chemistry showed as they anticipated each other’s actions and communicated effectively on the court.
“They are a pleasure to coach,” she said. “They have great camaraderie. They have played together for so long they are a well-oiled machine. They are an awesome group with great attitudes and they play with heart.”
The Grizzlies also beat Audie Murphy 25-8, 25-15 in the tourney.
Jailah Evans and Gloria Iosefo each scored 12 points to lead Union Grove in the tourney. Other scorers were Alicia Mora and Brooke Ross (nine each), Keonna Otis (six), Sakoya Lopez (five), Rylyn Bragg and Ava McKinzie (four each) and Kaley Lelauti (three).
Alyssa Cruz, Olivia Milliner and Eloise Shirley also contributed to the championship.
The Liberty Hill Lions seventh-graders also won in straight sets in a 25-16, 25-14 victory to complete an undefeated season.
“I’m speechless,” said Liberty Hill coach Joy Cassagnol after accepting the KISD championship plaque with her team. “All our hard work paid off.”
The Lions showed resiliency as the Manor Rams extended the undefeated team to three sets in the semifinal game prior to the final match.
“In the semifinal, we didn’t play like ourselves,” Cassagnol said.
“They knew it was a do or die situation and they took that attitude into this game.”
The championship showed the seventh-grade Lions’ season-long work ethic, the coach said.
“They always wanted to be on the floor,” she said. “They were willing to get it done. They love the game.”
SMITH 7A DEF. PATTERSON 7A 25-18, 25-20: Tara Bennett had four kills, an ace and four digs to lead the defeated Lady Cavaliers in a second-round loss.
Other contributors for Patterson were Kamea Uitenham, Jadis Resendez and Asia Zachary (one dig each), Hayle Brodine (five digs), Destiny Arias (two digs), Lexy Ogolla (one serve), Haley Hoffman (two aces), Bianca Rivers (one assist and five serves), Reyana Molina (one kill), Trinity Cutbirth (five assists, six serves, one ace, one dig), Iyahna Hibbler (one kill and five serves) and Joynis Gonzalez (10 digs, one assist, six serves and an ace).