When the Clear Creek Wildcats opened their volleyball season Tuesday against Katy Seven Lakes, head coach Scott Simonds pointed out to his two varsity freshmen that the competition was about to go up several notches.
“I was telling them, ‘You know, last year, you were playing against Seabrook Intermediate. You’re now playing against the state finalists. This is a different animal,’” Simonds said.
While not to that extreme degree, the competition was ramped up in similar fashion Thursday for the six Galveston County teams that began play in the three-day Adidas John Turner Classic tournament hosted at various sites in Pearland and Friendswood.
Of the six teams, four — Clear Creek, Clear Falls, Clear Springs and Friendswood — are still in the running to win the tournament championship as play resumes Friday.
Clear Creek went 2-1 in the opening round of pool play, defeating South San Antonio (25-9, 25-3) and Melissa (24-26, 25-14, 25-22) before ending the day with a tough loss to San Antonio Brandeis (4-25, 21-25).
Although the Wildcats didn’t go undefeated, they’ll still have a shot at the tournament championship as they enter the gold bracket with a first-round match against Austin Westlake at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Turner High School.
“We just need games, like anybody right now, just to gel and figure out what we need to do to be successful,” Simonds said.
Clear Springs also had a nice 2-1 showing on the tournament’s opening day, overwhelming perennial power Amarillo (25-11, 25-22) and San Antonio St. Anthony’s (25-16, 25-11). In between those two wins was a 15-25, 20-25 loss to Lubbock Coronado.
Like Clear Creek, the Chargers were fortunate enough to not need a play-in game to get into the gold bracket and will play Kingwood Park at 11:45 a.m. Friday at the Pearland Rec Center.
“They’re playing like a team, it’s pretty fluid,” Clear Springs head coach Shannon McClellen said. “They’re trusting each other on the court. Nobody is trying to do too much. Everybody knows their role. … I feel like this year’s team is picking up where last year’s left off, and hopefully we keep improving, and from here on out, everyone is contributing.”
Clear Falls also went 2-1 with sweeps of Trinity Christian Academy (25-20, 25-12) and Pasadena Memorial (25-17, 25-20) before ending the day by dropping a nail-biter against a quality Denton Guyer team (23-25, 24-26).
The Knights were not fortunate enough to get into the gold bracket automatically, and will have a play-in match against Argyle at 9:15 a.m. Friday at Pearland High School.
“We started making some connections today that we needed to make, and we’re working on our serving and our passing still,” Clear Falls head coach Lyndsay Hodges said.
Due to a late withdrawal, Friendswood only had two tournament matches Thursday, splitting the pair with a 22-25, 25-21, 25-21 win over Humble Summer Creek and a 25-22, 15-25, 19-25 loss to Spring Branch Smithson Valley.
The Lady Mustangs will have an opportunity to earn their way into the gold bracket with a play-in match against Schertz Clemens at 8 a.m. Friday at Pearland High School.
Like some of the other county teams, the Lady Mustangs’ roster has many new faces this season, and this weekend’s tournament serves as a chance to pack in a wealth of experience in a short amount of time.
“When we were playing well, we were playing really well, but I think we let too many errors go and not enough people were stepping up to get to those balls,” Friendswood head coach Sarah Paulk said. “They’re athletic and they’re good, it’s just about getting them to be together as a team.”
Dickinson went 1-2 on the day, starting with an emphatic 25-8, 25-15 win over Sonora before falling to Dallas Lake Highlands (25-18, 20-25, 11-25) and Prosper (10-25, 20-25).
The Lady Gators will enter a bronze challenge pool Friday, starting at 9:15 a.m. against St. Anthony’s at the rec center.
“If we want to be one of the best teams in the area, we have to compete against the best teams, so this is always a true test for us, and I think we played a lot better this first day this year than we did last year,” Farias said
Santa Fe also went 1-2 on Thursday, falling to San Antonio O’Conner (9-25, 18-25) and Kingwood Park (18-25, 26-24, 16-25) before logging a 25-22, 25-16 win over Leander Glenn.
The Lady Indians also will enter a bronze challenge pool, which begins 8 a.m. Friday against Pasadena Memorial at the rec center
The tournament’s championship match will be 2:15 p.m. Saturday at Pearland High School.