Chris Wiley would’ve stacked his group of seniors with any of those from the rest of District 8-5A.
The Harker Heights volleyball coach knew this group had the potential to be very, very good.
But, he also said predicting a 30-plus win season would’ve been crazy.
“I knew coming into this season, having eight seniors, that we had a really good team, that we had really good leadership and the girls played really well together,” Wiley said. “It just all really comes down to the fact that they were able to gel the way that they were, and the way that they were able to step up and do what no other team has done in school history volleyball-wise.”
With a defensive mentality and an offense led by seniors Anjane Janda and Katie Shulte, the Lady Knights went 35-7 this season, reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and were District 8-5A runners-up.
Janda and Shulte were named the district’s most valuable hitter and setter, respectably, on the 8-5A all-district team list released Monday.
“Katie, being our setter, everything we did worked around her. ... She controlled the flow of the game every time that we played and she put the ball where we needed it,” Wiley said. “A.J., as a hitter, she’s good. She can put it where it needs to be put and she had some very good games there in district, and that stood out in the coaches’ minds.”
The Copperas Cove Lady Dawgs replaced one District MVP with another, a newcomer of the year with another and a district runner-up finish with the District 8-5A championship in a school-record season.
Junior middle blocker Qiana Canete was voted the District 8-5A most valuable player and sophomore setter Makayla Blount shared the 8-5A newcomer of the year distinction with Waco Midway junior Laine McGinty. Belton junior libero Kinsey Williams was the district’s defensive player of the year and Cove’s Cari Lowery was the district’s coach of the year.
Canete, the District 12-5A newcomer last season, led the Lady Dawgs with 448 kills and 228 blocks and proved very capable of replacing the Lady Dawgs’ 2011 all-district MVP Amy Rosenbaum. And Blount, who was second on the team with 520 assists and posted a team third-best 95 blocks, was recognized as being yet another up-and-coming Cove star.
The Lady Bulldawgs won the District 8-5A championship, their first volleyball district title in school history, and won a school-record 23 straight matches before being swept by Flower Mound in the second round of the 5A playoffs this weekend. They finished their season with a 37-7 overall record, setting another school record for total wins, and were 14-0 in District 8-5A, the first time they’ve ever gone undefeated in district play.
Cove senior outside hitters Brittney Johnson and Carlie Tuiasosopo were both first-team selections for the Lady Dawgs. Tuiasosopo was third on the team with 239 kills and Johnson was fourth with 217. Johnson also led the team with 470 digs while Tuiasosopo had 113 to go along with 39 blocks.
Harker Heights senior middle blocker Deysia Burden and senior libero Jordan Denney were also first-team selections, two of seven Lady Knights players recognized for standing out from their defensive positions.
“We do pride ourselves on being a defensive team, using our defense, handling the basic skills to really work our offense,” Wiley said. “That’s really what we preached all year long to the girls, and to see that many of the kids made it (the all-district list) in positions that were defensive- based positions made it that much more special.”
Belton seniors Maggie Kramer and Alexus Dunning were first-team selections for the Lady Tigers, who rebounded from a one-win district season in 2011 to a playoff appearance in 2012.
“They really wanted to be successful and they really wanted to get out of the rut that they were in from before,” said Belton coach Stacy Meyer. “And, I think they wanted to prove to other people that they weren’t that kind of team.”
Killeen senior setter Esha Atkins, Shoemaker senior middle blocker/outside hitter Tearra Roberson and Temple senior outside hitter Amanda Goodman were all first-team selections as well.
ALL-DISTRICT 8-5A TEAM
MVP—Qiana Canete, Jr., MB, Copperas Cove
Most Valuable Hitter—Anjane Janda, Sr., OH, Harker Heights
Most Valuable Setter—Katie Schulte, Sr., S, Harker Heights
Defensive player of the year—Kinsey Williams, Jr., L, Belton
Co-Newcomers of the Year—Mikayla Blount, So., S/RS, Copperas Cove; Laine McGinty, Jr., OH, Waco Midway
Brittany Johnson, Sr, OH, Copperas Cove; Carlie Tuiasosopo, Sr., OH, Copperas Cove; Deysia Burden, Sr., MB, Harker Heights; Jordan Denney, Sr., L, Harker Heights; Christy Carruth, Jr., S, Waco Midway; Allison Jones, So., OH, Waco Midway; Alexus Dunning, Sr., OH, Belton; Maggie Kramer, Sr., S/RS, Belton; Kaitlyn Shearer, Sr., OH, Ellison; Amanda Goodman, Sr., OH, Temple; Esha Atkins, Sr., S, Killeen; Tearra Roberson, Sr., MB/OH, Shoemaker.
Jesica Vick, Sr., L, Copperas Cove; Ari Garcia, Sr., S, Copperas Cove; Caitlyn Young, Sr., OH, Harker Heights; Kathleen Janda, Jr., MB, Harker Heights; Angel Summers, Sr., MB, Waco Midway; Ariel Wheeler, Sr., MB, Waco Midway; Brieanna Brown, Jr., OH, Belton; Madelyn Graves, Sr., S, Belton; Malaysia Hope, Sr. S, Ellison; Kortni Taylor, Sr., OH, Ellison; CJ Anderson, Sr., L, Temple; Raven Watson, Sr., MB, Temple; Chalon Anderson, Jr., OH, Killeen; Johlicia Williams, Sr., MB, Killeen; Javani Person, Sr., L/DS, Shoemaker; Naiya Porell, Sr., L, Shoemaker.
Bryaunea Hall, Jr., MB, Copperas Cove; Destiny Henderson, Jr., DS, Copperas Cove; Blake Filip, Sr., DS, Harker Heights; Shantraie Rodriguez, Sr., RS, Harker Heights; Naomi Norwid, Sr., OH, Waco Midway; Megean Gibson, Jr., L, Waco Midway; Savannah Frick, Sr. RH, Belton; Christen Richardson, Sr. L, Ellison; Ismay Lee, Sr., S, Temple; Taylor Valentin, Sr., OH, Temple; Tiare Dugger, Sr. MB, Killeen; Alicia Brown, Jr., OH, Killeen; Dominique Pettway, Sr., DS/S, Killeen; Kiana Ware, So., L., Killeen; Takeyra Powell, Sr. OH, Shoemaker; Anessa Pitts, Jr. S, Shoemaker; Maddi Woodard, Jr., MB, Shoemaker.