Lady Pirates open volleyball with confident outlook

August 9, 2014

LIFTOFF FOR LADY PIRATES: Sophomore Amber Strange elevates to smack the ball during Granbury High School volleyball practice Wednesday as assistant coach A.J. Watlington (left) watches. Head coach Tammy Clark led the Lady Pirates to a 41-6 mark last season, the best record in GHS volleyball history.

Last season was a landmark campaign for Granbury High School volleyball, but even better things may be on the way in 2014.

The Lady Pirates posted their best volleyball season ever in 2013, reaching the final of the Class 4A regional tournament for the first time in school history. They were ranked as high as fourth in the state and finished with a best-ever record of 41-6, eliminated by Amarillo High.

After scrimmages against Haltom and Trinity, the Lady Pirates will open their season Tuesday in the Mansfield Lakeridge tournament.

Granbury’s Tammy Clark, voted Coach of the Year in District 7-4A for 2013, has six seniors and three juniors returning to form what could be an even more formidable juggernaut this season.

“We have a lot of seasoned players that are back,” said Clark, who lost two key seniors to graduation. “There are high expectations.

“We call it volleyball IQ because they’ve played so much volleyball together – and their teamwork is absolutely fantastic.

“I’m excited to have most of the team back because it was such a great experience. We’ll see if we can’t push it farther.”

Among the returnees are all-state selections Aubrey Ezell, a senior, and Karis Beasley, a junior. Ezell was voted the district’s Player of the Year.

Senior Breanna Crain was first-team all-district. Sophomore Amber Strange was voted Newcomer of the Year in the district.

Shelby Shade, a senior, and Taylor DeYoung, a junior, earned second-team all-district.

Madison Miller and Taelyn Beaddle are also returning senior lettermen.

“We have athletic girls that can jump really high, so height is not a problem,” Clark said.

Clark indicated that the Lady Pirates have confidence, but are going to take one step at a time instead of looking too far ahead.

“They’re not over-confident,” Clark said. “They’re eager to get on the floor as a unit, and they are a very close team.

“We’ve got to focus on the things that are right in front of us.”

The Lady Pirates were co-champions in their district last season with Aledo.

“Aledo will be strong again. They will be a team to focus on,” Clark said, adding that Burleson High, Burleson Centennial and Joshua High are also expected to contend for the four playoff spots.

“I’m just really excited to have such a big core back,” Clark said. “They are very focused and driven, which makes my job easier.

“If we take care of business – little goal by little goal – the end goal will take care of itself.”

The predistrict schedule features lots of rugged competition, such as the 72-team tournament in Pearland. It will include some of the best teams in the state, including Austin Westlake.

This is Clark’s 12th season as head coach of the Lady Pirates, who will be seeking their sixth straight playoff appearance. Clark has led them to the regional quarterfinals four times

GHS Varsity Volleyball Games

Date Opponent Time

Aug. 9 Trinity (scrimm. at L.D. Bell) 9 a.m.

Aug. 12 at Mansfield Lake Ridge 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 14-16 at Pearland Tourn. TBA

Aug. 19 Arlington Martin 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 22-23 Granbury Classic Tourn. TBA

Aug. 26 at Trinity 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 29-30 at Trinity Tourn. TBA

Sept. 2 Stephenville 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 5 Waco Midway 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 9 at Weatherford 6:30 p.m.

*Sept. 12 at Aledo 5:30 p.m.

*Sept. 16 at Cleburne 6:30 p.m.

*Sept. 19 Crowley 5:30 p.m.

*Sept. 23 Joshua 6:30 p.m.

*Sept. 26 at Burleson High 5:30 p.m.

*Sept. 30 at Burleson Centennial 6:30 p.m.

*Oct. 3 Everman 5:30 p.m.

*Oct. 7 Aledo 6:30 p.m.

*Oct. 10 Cleburne 5:30 p.m.

*Oct. 14 at Crowley 6:30 p.m.

*Oct. 17 at Joshua 5:30 p.m.

*Oct. 21 Burleson High 6:30 p.m.

*Oct. 24 Burleson Centennial 5:30 p.m.

*Oct. 28 at Everman 6:30 p.m.

* = District 8-5A game.

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Category: Granbury Sports, Sports