High School Volleyball

Party like it’s ’98: Episcopal volleyball ends SPC title drought

The 19-year title drought is over for Episcopal volleyball. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

On Saturday, Episcopal volleyball (29-6) reached the mountain top for the first time in nearly two decades. The Lady Knights wrapped up the season with a 3-1 victory against Houston Christian in the SPC Championship. It earned their ninth championship overall, and first since their seven consecutive titles between 1992 and 1998.

“Because it was such a long time, it made it even more special to get that title back,” said Brennan Howell.

None of the Knights’ players were born the last time the program finished first, but they had a coach who had won before. Amanda Watts ended the 90’s dynasty with a pair of Fort Worth Trinity Valley crowns in 1999 and 2000. Her experience from those seasons, combined with this year’s talent, guided the group through a 2-4 start, as well as a 17-game win streak to end the year.

“I told them around Harvey time that they had the talent to win it,” said Watts. “And, if they kept pushing through it, they could win it.”

Alabama-commit Mylana Byrd was the main piece to the puzzle, but team depth was needed to finish it. That included fellow senior Kansas Watts, junior transfer Kathleen Johnson, sophomores Howell and Trinity Watts, and freshmen Sania Petties and Camille Hanna.

“We were so deep that no one could stop us,” said Byrd.

That was definitely the case in SPC because her team won the South Zone with a 6-0 record, and beat its three tournament opponents (Fort Worth Country Day, The Episcopal School of Dallas, and Houston Christian) in a combined 10 sets.

Mylana and Kansas finished their high school careers as champions. Both know the team’s depth was the difference in this year’s run, and will keep the program in contention for years to come.

“It feels awesome,” Kansas said of finishing her career on top. “I’m excited to see how this team is going to do next year.”

 

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Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick. Photo by Wiki Commons

It's been a season of surprises as the NASCAR Cup Series begins its West Coast swing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is one of NASCAR's many mile and a half tracks, but this one is different as it is much more bumpy and when this track gets in the sun, it gets slippery as well. The track is a lot more narrow than the other mile and a half tracks as well, so there will be a lot more close quarter racing.

Last week at Homestead, William Byron pulled away from the field and went on to claim his second career victory. The Charlotte native battled back from early tire issues and ran as low as 31st until he was able to claw his way back to the front around stage 2 when he drove around the two JGR teammates of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to take the stage victory. There has been a lot of expectations and hype around this young phenom but in his first three years, it took him a while to grow into a race winner. It wasn't until last year when Byron claimed his first win at the Daytona fall race. This year he was paired with crew-chief Rudy Fugle. This pair amassed tons of success when they worked together in the Truck Series back in 2016 when they won seven races. It seems now that the pair could be back to their winning ways. This looks like this could be a good pairing down the line.

As we all know, this has been the season of surprises and those surprises continued last week as Michael McDowell went on to his third consecutive top ten finish as he finished eighth. McDowell has been sort of a journeyman driver. He has raced for teams such as LeaVine Family Racing and the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing where he got his start. While it has only been three races, he's in the midst of a career year beginning with a victory in this year's Daytona 500. Many thought that victory was a fluke and that he was "wasting a playoff spot," but since then he has proved his haters wrong as he currently sits fourth in the points. Will this streak continue? I think it can. His string of good runs puts him in an advantageous position as he gets to start up front each week and knowing how important qualifying was, he has really been able to take advantage of this. Look for the #34 Loves Ford Mustang to build on this.

The favorite for this week's race has to be Joey Logano. In the fifteen races Logano has started in here, he has ten top fives and two victories including last season's spring Vegas race in February. He hasn't got off to the best start as it's been three up and down races for him. From finishing second at the Daytona road course to following that up with a twenty-fifth last week at Homestead. This week though I believe he can get everything back on track with a good run or a victory.

The driver that I am picking to win this week is Kevin Harvick. The future Hall of Famer has been stout this season with a 6th and 5th place finish. The speed for Harvick and his team have been there, but they just haven't been able to get the win. But this week he's going to a track he has excelled at big time. He will start from the pole this Sunday and that should really scare the whole field. He has two victories here and twelve top tens since his beginning back in 2001. I look for him to get his third victory here and begin another run for his second championship.

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