Glynna Johnson started her volleyball career as just a taller middle blocker. She finished her career as an all-around player and the best in District 19-3A.
That's how the district's coaches saw it in voting Johnson, who led the Hornets to consecutive Region III-3A semifinal appearances, the 19-3A Most Valuable Player in unanimous fashion.
She was really just the most dominant player and showed that in district games, Gatesville coach Rickey Phillips said. The 6-foot-3 Johnson, who is headed to Northwestern State next year, averaged a team-best 19.7 kills per match in district play (she posted a 54 percent kill percentage). She also led Gatesville in blocks (5.1 per match) and aces (2.8).
But unlike in years past when Johnson spent half of the rotation on the sidelines, she worked on her back-row play. Her passing improved and she spent most of the season on the court at all times.
She put in lots of hours to get better, Phillips said. Lots of hours, not just to be 6-foot-3, but she put in a lot and spent tons of hours to be a better volleyball player. That's been pretty neat to watch.
Another who took a step this season was fellow senior Skye Truss, who missed time as a junior but became an impact player for the Hornets. She was named 19-3A's Best Blocker. Truss finished second in kills (8.3 per match), blocks (3.1) and aces (2.5).
I think the biggest thing that separated this year from past seasons for her was she just displayed more confidence in what she was doing, Phillips said of Truss, who moved from outside hitter to middle blocker midway through the season.
Kaitlin Poe was named Setter of the Year for the second time she shared the honor as a sophomore. The senior averaged 31.2 assists per match.
There were some good setters in our district don't get me wrong but what set her apart besides having really good hands and being a good setter was she was among our team leaders in aces, blocking and kills, Phillips said of Poe, who averaged 2.1 blocks and 1.7 aces per match. She has a great feel for the game and got us some timely attacks, some timely dumps, and keeps that other team on guard over there.
The Hornets, who went 37-5 on the year, were also well represented throughout the all-district teams. First-team honors went to Megan Chambers and Daija Ward, while Paige Chambers and Ashley Cook were named to the second team. Lauren Nichols and Alissa Gonzalez were honorable mentions.
Lorena's JoBeth Thompson was named Best Hitter, while teammate Katie Sampson was tabbed as Best Defender. China Spring junior Re'Elle Miller was named Newcomer of the Year. Phillips and Lorena's Kari Sowders were named co-Coaches of the Year.