Granbury Lady Pirate volleyball coach Tammy Clark had the right mixture of youth and experience this season.
It resulted in reaching the third round of the 4A playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
They did not win district for the first time in three seasons, but consider that they share a league with the state runners-up Aledo Ladycats. By the way, Aledo was the only team to defeat Granbury in district.
As for the rest of the league, Granbury did not lose a single game, sweeping all 12 matches on their way to second-place.
Senior Shannon Helm played a major role in that success, leading the Lady Pirates to a 24-18 record. It garnered the attention of the district’s coaches as they named her the District 7-4A Offensive Player of the Year.
Helm posted 207 kills with 51 blocks. She also served 52 aces.
She is one of three Lady Pirates to receive a superlative award from the district’s coaches. Sophomore Breanna Crain was named Defensive Player of the Year, and freshman Karis Beasley was honored as Newcomer of the Year.
Crain led the Lady Pirates with 621 digs. Beasley registered 202 kills, 23 blocks, 311 digs and 45 aces.
In all, 11 Lady Pirates were honored.
First-team choices are senior Paige Holt (team leader with 233 kills and 56.5 blocks), along with sophomores Aubrey Ezell (228 kills, 33.5 blocks, 302 digs, team highs with 824 assists and 69 aces) and Shelby Shade (36 aces, 324 digs).
Named to the second team were seniors Blair Cowden (426 assists) and Jenna Underwood.
Receiving honorable mention were junior Hannah Hiler, junior Sydney Carpenter and senior Alexis Carpenter.
“I think it is a great honor to be voted for all-district honors. The other coaches had to see something in those student-athletes to show they were contributing a lot to our success,” said Clark.
“I think to have such a strong representation shows that we had a very talented team that was pretty balanced, making many of them noticeable in their own positions.”
As always, Clark’s players are also among the strongest academically in the state. A dozen Lady Pirates were named academic all-district, Crain, Ezell, Shade, Cowden, Holt, Beasley, Hiler, Helm, Underwood, Sydney Carpenter, Alexis Carpenter, and senior Amy Mendoza.
“Academic all-district just shows that while we are in the heat of our season, where it would be easy to make excuses for the classroom side of things, that these girls, instead, make a solid commitment to their studies – even when it isn’t easy.
“ They all know that we, as an athletic department at Granbury High School, have an expectation that they take care of their school work and are leaders in the classroom. “
EVERY SR. ACADEMIC ALL-STATE
Along with numerous all-district honors, all seven seniors on the Granbury Lady Pirate volleyball team garnered academic all-state status by both the Texas Girls Coaches Association and the Texas High School Coaches Association.
Qualifying for this award were Shelby Cline, Alexis Carpenter, Cowden, Holt, Mendoza, Helm and Underwood.
To qualify, a player must meet the following requirements set by the University Interscholastic League, TGCA and THSCA: good citizenship, finish the senior season in good standing, and have a cumulative grade-point average of 94 or better in grades 9-11 and the first part of their senior season.
“Most impressive is academic all-state,” said Clark. “This is only a senior award, and I have never had every single senior on my team qualify for academic all-state – and this is the biggest class of seniors I have ever had the opportunity to coach.
“ They were very strong in the classroom. These girls are consistently excelling at all they do, to include their student work.
“It is the award that just shows a consistent work ethic from the beginning of high school until the end. This is a very impressive class of senior ladies. “
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All-District 7-4A Volleyball Team
Offensive Player of the Year
Shannon Helm, sr.
Defensive Player of the Year
Breanna Crain, soph.
Newcomer of the Year
Karis Beasley, fr.
Aubrey Ezell, soph.; Shelby Shade, soph.; Paige Holt, sr.
Blair Cowden, sr.; Jenna Underwood, sr.
Hannah Hiler, jr.; Sydney Carpenter, jr.; Alexis Carpenter, sr.
Crain, Ezell, Shade, A. Carpenter, S. Carpenter, Cowden, Holt, Beasley, Hiler, Helm, Underwood, Amy Mendoza.
Shelby Cline, A. Carpenter, Cowden, Holt, Mendoza, Helm, Underwood.