Kingwood Park steals headlines for 2018 volleyball

Kingwood Park falls under that special category and used the 2018 season to buck history. VYPE

Originally Appeared on VYPE

THERE ALWAYS HAS TO BE A FIRST.

A team who overcomes the odds stacked against them because they have never been there or done that.

Kingwood Park falls under that special category and used the 2018 season to buck history.

The Panthers had to face Lucas Lovejoy for the title, a team that was making its eighth state tournament appearance, compared to this being Park's inaugural trip. Kingwood Park didn't back down and instead shocked the Texas high school volleyball world by sweeping Lovejoy, 3-0.

Libby Overmyer (VYPE Public School Player of the Year) was a key piece to Kingwood Park's success. Just a junior, she sacrificed everything for her team on a per-play basis. Overmyer exemplified what being a great leader on and off the court is. Expect the same as she will be back for her senior season.

St. John's is a storied volleyball program in the private school realm, winning 14 state championships heading into this year. But the Mavericks hadn't claimed one since the 2009 season.

The Mavericks ended the drought this fall by winning another Southwestern Preparatory Conference State Championship.

Led by Celia Adams, Alexandra Lewis, Siena Zerr and Nova Manning, St. John's was able to claim the program's 15th state title.

Ridge Point also turned in a year for the record books, reaching the state championship game before falling short to Flower Mound.

The Panthers were led by future Longhorn – Skylar Fields, who finished the year with 471 kills. Ridge Point was a junior-heavy team, meaning 2019 will again be a year to watch this crew. Claire Jeter had a breakout season, recording 490 kills, while Reagan Rutherford, Randee Hennings and Lindsey Ogle also had nice years.

This team nearly won it all this year and with the experience they have now, expect them to be a force next fall again.

Another player who stood out this year was Concordia Lutheran's Isabel Zelaya (Pepperdine-signee).

Zelaya capped off a great high school career with an amazing senior year. The future Pepperdine star had 900 assists, 512 kills, 368 digs, 90 aces and 59 blocks, which all led the team.

Phenomenal players and teams! Cannot wait to see what 2019 brings us.


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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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