Allen VB

Allen senior Emily Canaan, left, was named defensive player of the year in District 5-6A.

The race for the District 5-6A volleyball championship was hotly contested from start to finish with each of the league’s four playoff qualifiers staking their claim across a 12-game schedule.

Ultimately, Denton Guyer survived the rough-and-tumble conference en route to a first-place finish, while McKinney Boyd, Allen and Prosper also booked returns to the postseason. 

Of those four teams, only Prosper made it past the bi-district round. The Lady Eagles, despite being seeded fourth, made a return to the regional quarterfinals — the ninth straight year that Prosper has advanced to at least the third round of the postseason.

Those four programs, plus McKinney, Denton Braswell and Little Elm, were all recognized for their work on the hardwood with selections to the 5-6A all-district team.

Leading the way was league champion Guyer, which earned two superlatives and totaled 11 all-district selections. At the top was junior Kyndal Stowers, named 5-6A MVP after posting 493 kills, 27 aces, 61 blocks and 497 digs to lead the Lady Wildcats to a fifth consecutive playoff appearance.

At the controls of the Lady Wildcats’ big season was Leslie Jackson, who was named 5-6A coach of the year in her first campaign leading the program. Jackson made the move to Denton after coaching the previous season elsewhere in the district at McKinney. Under Jackson, Guyer went 21-11 overall and 11-1 in district.

Allen and McKinney Boyd came away with multiple all-district superlatives as well. Allen senior Emily Canaan repeated as 5-6A defensive player of the year, and senior Tori Wilson helped the Lady Eagles double down on defensive accolades as the league’s blocker of the year.

Canaan, an American Volleyball Coaches Association High School All-America first-team selection, dug 499 balls on the year, good for 4.1 per set, to go along with 129 assists and 32 aces. Wilson, meanwhile, anchored the middle of the floor for Allen to the tune of 206 kills, 106 blocks and 37 digs.

Boyd, meanwhile, had its potent hitter-setter combination commended with senior Hannah Billeter named 5-6A offensive player of the year for the second straight season and sophomore Carson Eickenloff tabbed as the league’s setter of the year. Billeter, who also earned an All-America nod from the AVCA, slammed down 439 kills and added 373 digs and 28 aces on the year

Plenty of those points were set up by Eickenloff, who during district play was responsible for 52 kills, 130 digs and 289 assists.

Prosper sophomore Ayden Ames was commended for her standout debut with the Lady Eagles as 5-6A’s newcomer of the year. A move-in from California, Ames made an instant impact at Prosper — she led the regional quarterfinalists in kills with 455 to go along with 46 aces, 50 blocks and 138 digs.

All-district first-team selections for Guyer went to senior outside hitter Gracey Campbell, senior middle blocker London Hunt and senior libero Carrie Aune. The Lady Wildcats’ second-team selections were senior middle blocker and right-side hitter Reagan Nash, sophomore setter Ava Houser and junior right side Lauren Schneider.

Second-place Boyd landed three on the first team and three on the second team as well. The Lady Broncos’ first-team picks were senior outside hitter Avery Calame, junior setter Camryn Weldon and freshman outside hitter and right side Ale Romo. Senior middle blocker Kira Thornton, senior defensive specialist Macy Parker and senior defensive specialist Claire Russell landed on the second team.

Allen senior setter Leah Reeves and senior right-side hitter Sydni Mitchell cracked the first team, and senior setter Emma Vu and senior right-side hitter Divine Muo landed on the second team.

Prosper junior middle blocker Ella Chaney, as well as senior setter and right side Jazzlyn Ford and junior setter and right side Callie Kieffer, were all selected to the first team, while senior right side Kendall Hewitt and sophomore middle blocker Sydney Thornton were second-team selections.

Braswell junior outside hitter Kamille Gibson made the first team, and senior libero Najah Harris made the second team.

McKinney’s two all-district picks went to junior middle blocker Kyanna Creecy on the first team and junior middle blocker and right side Sydnee Griffin on the second team.

Little Elm rounded out the group with a second-team nod for senior outside hitter Emma Robinson.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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