2019 VYPE All-State Volleyball Teams

VYPE

Originally appeared on VYPE

The goal is very simple: Recognize the best public high school volleyball players in the state of Texas.

As I've said many times before, Texas has the best collection of volleyball players in the United States (if not the world).

Consider there are approximately 1,200 public high school volleyball teams. If you figure an average of nine players per team (and that's a conservative number), that's about 11,000 players to consider for our 2nd Annual VYPE All-State Awards.

But here they are – we believe these are the best in a state full of incredible volleyball talent.

As I indicated for my own Dazzling Dozen, these selections, too, are as politics-free as we could make them. There's no "quota" of teams, players or regions to be represented; there's no undue influence from one team, area or organization.

I did consult a 10-person committee of coaches from across the state for their thoughts on these selections. We all had one goal in mind; make sure we recognize the players who deserve such recognition. Period. I also worked with Josh Koch of our own VYPE Media as well as Butch Hart, the Guru of Texas high school volleyball and Media Director of the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

As I've learned from my coaching friends, coaches are always the first to be approached with questions (and complaints) about any/all postseason awards. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions with these awards, please contact me directly: e-mail me, chuck.licata@vypemedia.com or hit me up via Direct Message on Twitter (@kmacchuck).

Unfortunately, I only received a couple e-mails for nominations for Class 4A to 1A (we'll work to continue growing that moving forward). Thus, we used the Texas Girls Coaches Association State Awards for our Honorable Mention lists in those classes; I added a few players I saw this season.

Congratulations to the incredible players on this list. And, congrats to all 2019-20 Texas high school volleyball players, coaches, teams and communities for an outstanding season of volleyball!


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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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