Union Grove Middle School seventh-graders and Eastern Hills Middle School eighth-graders celebrated volleyball championship victories in district match finals Monday.
For Union Grove Middle School, the victory was its third Killeen ISD championship and completed a second undefeated season.
“They have worked so hard since day one,” said an excited Union Grove coach Tracy Wilson following the hard-fought 25-16, 25-14 victory over the Manor Middle School Rams.
“This has been a good group, they have jelled together,” Wilson said.
She said her team served well, hustled through the championship match and executed passing and spiking well to win the victory.
Sakoya Lopez served nine points to lead the Grizzlies. Other scorers for Union Grove (14-0) were Kaley Lelauti (eight points), Brooke Ross (six), Faryn Morris (four), Keonna Otis and Jailah Evans (two each) and Gloria Iosefo (one).
Alicia Mora, Evans, Ross and Lopez were defensive standouts. Morris, Alyssa Cruz, Lelauti and Iosefo led the hitting attack. Eloise Shirley, Olivia Milliner, Otis, and Nykaela Burks sealed points with their great tips and deep sets at the net. Lelauti and Iosefo were outstanding setters in the match.
In the final middle school game, at the Shoemaker High School gym, Eastern Hills Middle School coach Clarneva Pierre celebrated with her eighth-graders following a 25-17, 25-22 win over Patterson Middle School.
She said it was the school’s first girls’ athletics championship since 2012.
“I knew this was the group,” said Pierre, who moved from coaching basketball to coaching volleyball. “They showed the teamwork and work ethic all season.”
Pierre’s Panthers did not face Patterson during the regular season and the coach said she knew they would face a tall test.
The Cavaliers led the Panthers late in the second stanza, but Eastern Hills came from behind to complete the straight-set match victory.
“We had not played Patterson and we knew we would be in for a fight,” the winning coach said. “Right now, this is overwhelming.”