For more than a decade playing volleyball at Granbury High was simply a way to pass the time in the fall until basketball season arrived.
Not any more.
The Lady Pirates and their faithful now make plans to be busy past the regular season.
For a fourth consecutive year the Lady Pirates will be playing in the postseason. They qualified once again by finishing second in District 7-4A to Aledo.
Granbury (22-16 overall) wrapped up a 12-2 district campaign Tuesday with a 25-8, 25-15, 25-12 shellacking of Fort Worth South Hills on the Lady Scorpions’ home court.
With the exception of their two losses to Aledo, the Lady Pirates swept all 12 of their victories. They will now face rival and former district mate Cleburne (23-18) in bidistrict.
The Lady Jackets finished third in the tough District 8-4A behind Burleson (26-8) and Joshua (31-8).
Granbury and Cleburne did not meet during the regular season.
Under Tammy Clark, the Lady Pirates rebounded from a team that won just six matches in her first season to a perennial playoff squad that knows how to win once they reach the postseason. In each of the previous three years the team has reached the third round.
“That’s the goal, to have a program, not just a year here and a year there where you do well,” said Clark.
“It also makes a major difference when you have good coaches in place.”
Clark’s next victory will be the 200th of her career.
Clark’s early teams struggled, winning six, 10 and 12 games in her first three seasons. In her fourth season they were 21-16 and have not had a losing season since, going 18-18 in her fifth year and following with five consecutive years with at least 22 wins (currently).
The 2010 team won 32 games and the 2011 squad posted 29.
Clark said it took some time, but now the program is one that feeds itself from ground up.
“Our JV has enjoyed quite a bit of success, and our freshmen see quite a bit of success,” she said. “The junior highs align themselves with the varsity program.”
The freshmen Purple team, in fact, won district this season with a 14-0 record.
Before opening the playoffs, the Lady Pirates will face another long-time rival today (Saturday) when they host Stephenville. The Honeybees, coached by former Granbury coach Fran Metzger, defeated the Lady Pirates 25-18, 25-11, 23-25, 25-23 in Granbury on Sept. 4.
Metzger was the last coach to lead the Lady Pirates to four consecutive playoff berths, winning district from 1991-94. She later led the Honeybees to a state championship in 2004.
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Granbury defeated South Hills 25-8, 25-15, 25-12
Aces – Aubrey Ezell 8, Blair Cowden 2, Shelby Shade 2.
Kills – Shannon Helm 11, Hannah Hiler 5.
Assists – Ezell 21, Cowden 10.
Digs – Karis Beasley 11, Breanna Crain 11, Shade 7.