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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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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