TEXAS CITY – After spending years in 24-4A, one of the toughest volleyball districts in the state, the Lady Stings now move to a district which could be theirs for the taking this fall.

Fifth-year coach Christian Dunn welcomes back 10 players from last year’s team, which advanced to the playoffs for the second straight year.

Despite having their campaign end with a first-round loss to Richmond Foster, Texas City took another step forward, especially with five starters who cut their teeth as freshmen.

District 24-4A first-team member Hailee King and second-teamer Treslyn Ortiz return as anchors for the Lady Stings, whose program has turned the corner since the arrival of Dunn.

“The experience that comes from having to play the likes of Friendswood, (Pearland) Dawson and Santa Fe will certainly help us going into the new district,” said Dunn of 23-5A. “We have four seniors on the roster who have grown from playing in a lot of tough matches against some of the best teams in the state.”

Texas City will continue to raise the bar, as their nondistrict competition includes a scrimmage against Dawson before embarking upon a series of challenging tourneys, highlighted by their appearance in the prestigious Texas Volleyball Invitational in Pearland on Aug. 14-16.

The Lady Stings will also travel to Austin at the end of the month to play in the Volleyballpalooza Tourney, which will feature some of the state’s best 4A and 5A teams.

Dunn feels the Lady Stings are capable of more than just grabbing the fourth playoff spot, more so now that Texas City no longer has to contend with Friendswood and Dawson.

Still, Santa Fe, which has dominated Texas City for much of the past decade, will be a part of 23-5A, and Dunn knows his team will have to step up against the Lady Indians in order to achieve a district title.

“We’re getting closer,” said Dunn of being on par with Santa Fe. “We play them in the district opener (on Sept. 12), and I feel that if we can defeat them, that can give us the confidence boost that we need to start strong in the first half of play. I feel that also gives us a very good chance to compete with Santa Fe and Ridge Point for the district championship.”

The increased numbers in club volleyball during the past few seasons have helped strengthen the program as a whole, Dunn said.

While there are just two roster spots open as the Lady Stings begin fall practice, the subvarsity depth will provide Dunn the opportunity to bring up younger talent without having them thrown immediately into the fire.

“We’re not going to be the biggest team, so we have to execute well on defense and passing,” Dunn said. “We feel that if we can control the ball, our offense will work itself out.”

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Texas City Lady Stings

DISTRICT: 23-5A

COACH: Christian Dunn (fifth year)

2013 RECORD: 15-19; lost in first round of playoffs to Richmond Foster

KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Hailee King (Sr.), Treslyn Ortiz (Sr.), Taylor Thiem (Sr.)

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