This is the first of a series on Galveston County high school volleyball teams.
LEAGUE CITY – 3-1. The numbers are a stark reminder of how the 2013 season ended for the Clear Creek volleyball team, which was bounced out of the bi-district round by Fort Bend Dulles.
On Nov. 6, the day after their loss, coach Scott Simonds placed the score for everyone to see in the locker room.
Each day since, it has served as motivation for the Wildcats, who begin fall practice Monday.
“We’re not used to first-round exits around here,” Simonds said.
With only two starters lost (District 24-5A first teamers Melissa Gaffney and Melody Horton) from last year’s 20-12 team, the Wildcats are well-prepared to avoid another early November vacation.
Simonds will welcome back District 24-5A co-setter of the year Mariah Pardo along with second team all-district members Allison Donovan and Melissa McNeil, who was one of only two freshmen selected to either the first- or second-team all-district.
Creek reached the playoffs with a squad that had three freshmen and a trio of sophomores.
The experience of growing in the toughest district in the Houston area provides an edge that will be honed during scrimmages and tournaments throughout the month.
Simonds was also pleased with the effort of his team during summer conditioning along with the play he saw from those who participated in club play.
Those two factors will give the Wildcats a wealth of depth from which Simonds will cull a starting lineup.
“We’re fortunate to know that we will have 12 good players on our roster,” Simonds said. “The biggest question we face is whether we will go with either a 5-1 or 4-2 set.”
The new District 24-6A will have the same rugged set of squads, including state semifinalist Clear Lake.
Yet the arrival of Friendswood, which reached the Class 4A semifinals the past two seasons, only raises the already intense level of play.
“There’s no such thing as an off night in this district,” Simonds said. “This is such a well-balanced district, that when you look at the (2013) all-district team, you’ll see everyone has at least one player on the team. You now add a Friendswood team that we’re familiar with since we’ve played them in nondistrict over the years. I know they lost a lot of talent and have a new coach (Kylie Kerlin), but I know they’re going to be very good.”
Yet, 3-1 still looms in the Wildcats locker room.
“I think it’s serving its purpose,” Simonds said. “We’re a very motivated team.”
Clear Creek Wildcats
COACH: Scott Simonds
2013 RECORD: 20-12; lost in first round of playoffs to Fort Bend Dulles, 3-1
RETURNING STARTERS: 4, including Mariah Pardo, Allison Donovan and Melissa McNeil