Lady Pirates excelling in summer VB play

Over the past four seasons the Granbury Lady Pirates have been one of the top high school volleyball programs in North Texas. Their resume includes a couple of district championships, 111 victories (48 in district) and four consecutive trips to the Class 4A Region I quarterfinals.

Such success is helped by players competing outside of the high school season, as do most of the players on the Lady Pirates. Four players achieved elite success within their respective club programs this summer.

Two were on teams that competed in the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals in Dallas last week, and two more reached the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Nationals in Orange County, Calif. previously.

Amber Strange, a freshman, played for Texas Image Volleyball Mizuno LA 14 in the 14 National Division in the Dallas tournament. Her team finished with a 6-3 record, losing 2-1 in the semifinals of the Gold Bracket, meaning they were among the top eight teams in the nation.

Strange’s squad bounced back from an opening 2-1 loss in pool play to sweep its next three matches. Then, after being swept, they won the ensuing three matches all by 2-0 scores. In all, their game record was 14-5.

“I’m very excited for Amber to enjoy such a successful season,” said Lady Pirate coach Tammy Clark. “Top eight in the nation is a fantastic experience.”

Aubrey Ezell, a junior, playing for TIV Mizuno Ray 16 in the Dallas tournament. They won the championship of the Silver Bracket in the 16 National Division, finishing with a 9-2 record in matches, ninth overall in the nation.

Ezell’s team swept six of its matches in two games, and in both losses forced their opponent to a third game in the best-of-three matches. Their overall game record was 20-7.

“Aubrey making it to winner of the Silver Bracket was a fantastic showing as well,” said Clark. “She showed great leadership on a solid team.”

Ezell, a starter on the Granbury varsity since her freshman season, was one of the premier athletes in District 7-4A last season, earning first-team honors. She led the Lady Pirates in assists (824) and aces (69), was second in kills (228), third in blocks (33.5) and fourth in defensive digs (302).

Ezell was also named the Newcomer of the Year in district as a freshman.

Freshman Makenna Martin and sophomore Lily Thornton, played for the Platinum Chargers of American Eagle Volleyball in the AAU Junior Nationals. Competing in the 18 Club Division, their team went 2-8 in the tournament.

Thornton was a member of the District 7-4A champions Lady Pirate junior varsity last season.

“Lots of Lady Pirates excelling in their summer ball experiences,” said an excited Lady Pirate coach Tammy Clark.

“Everyone is working hard at various opportunities to touch the ball with league, lessons, camps, sand and those that made it to nationals.”

Later this month, Ezell is competing in Beach Nationals in Milwaukee July 27-28. She is currently in San Diego at a beach volleyball camp.

“Beach Nationals will be another great experience for her,” Clark said.

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