With their 26-24, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19 win Tuesday against the Clear Creek Wildcats, the Clear Springs Chargers completed their first-ever district championship in undefeated fashion, finishing with a 12-0 mark in 24-6A play.
“They set out a goal and attained it,” Clear Springs head coach Shannon McClellen said. “So, hopefully, that will propel us forward in the playoffs and give us a little boost. We haven’t peaked yet, and hopefully we’ll do that in the playoffs.”
Not only did the Chargers varsity team have an undefeated district season, but so did the junior varsity and both freshman teams for a program-wide district sweep — another first in Clear Springs volleyball history.
Clear Springs edged out Clear Creek in two highly competitive sets to start out the match.
The Chargers led for the bulk of the first frame before a 5-0 Wildcats run led by three kills from Allie Garland (19 kills in the match) tied the score at 19-19 to set the stage for an exciting finish. Tied 24-24, a kill and a big block by Erin Rogers (three blocks) closed out the set for Clear Springs.
In an even more competitive second set, the teams exchanged the lead 10 times and had 12 tied scores. Trailing 21-18, Clear Creek rattled off four straight points, but then Clear Springs responded with four unanswered points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
“The kids fought, but we just didn’t make the plays at the end of those close sets that we needed to make,” Clear Creek head coach Scott Simonds said. “Some of that has to do with some of our kids being young and inexperienced, but we’ve just got to make those plays.”
The Wildcats put together an 8-0 run to turn a 4-5 deficit into a commanding 12-5 lead in the third set, and never allowed the Chargers to get closer than a four-point deficit.
“We were at about a six or seven; we were good enough to beat a lot of teams tonight, but in order to beat these kinds of teams, you’ve got to be at a nine or a 10,” Simonds said.
Clear Springs countered with its strongest set of the match to secure the victory. A key run led by Shyia Richardson (18 kills, 18 digs) and Kenadee Poye (15 kills) ballooned an 11-10 Chargers lead to an 18-12 advantage, and they were able to keep the Wildcats from getting no closer than down four points.
“I’ve said it over and over again that we’re pretty mentally tough,” McClellen said. “In tough situations, I have kids who are staying aggressive. We’re not going to lose because we’re just keeping the ball in play. We do a pretty good job of staying aggressive in pressure situations. And that’s been since the beginning, and it’s paying off now.”
Other leaders in the match for the Chargers included Hannah Crawford (19 digs), Tori Gehret (18 digs) and Massiel Coronado (38 assists, three aces). The Wildcats got key contributions from Riley Brantley (15 kills), Miranda Phelps (20 digs) and Spencer Plato (48 assists).
Clear Springs’ win marks the fifth consecutive season (every season since the creation of Class 6A) that District 24-6A has had an undefeated champion. Last season Friendswood went 14-0, and it was Clear Creek going 14-0 for the three seasons before that.
The Chargers face Brazoswood in their bi-district playoff match 6 p.m. next Tuesday at Santa Fe High School. The Wildcats meet Pearland Dawson in the bi-district round 6 p.m. Monday at Clear Lake High School.