Newman Smith volleyball

Newman Smith’s volleyball team qualified for the playoffs in District 11-5A and had multiple players earn all-district superlatives.

A change of scenery served Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD volleyball well in 2020, with all three high schools qualifying for the playoffs after cracking the top four in the District 11-5A standings.

Creekview finished second in the district, followed by Newman Smith in third place and RL Turner in fourth. The Lady Mustangs and Lady Trojans both advanced to the area round of the Class 5A playoffs and were nearly joined by the Lady Lions — fourth-seeded Turner fell in five sets to 12-5A champion Lancaster in the bi-district round.

All comers were playing catch-up to Woodrow Wilson, however, as the Lady Wildcats ran the table en route to the 11-5A championship. Wilson’s command of the conference was reflected on the all-district team with five Lady Wildcats earning superlative awards, plus a few for C-FB ISD.

Smith raked in some postseason hardware after senior Rebecca Goldstein was voted outstanding setter and junior Olivia Pivonka was named outstanding defender. Goldstein ran the show for the Lady Trojan offense recording 167 assists to go along with 104 digs, 102 kills and 50 aces. Pivonka, meanwhile, captained the defense with 154 digs as well as eight blocks, 39 aces and 95 kills.

Creekview senior Jasi Landberg’s work on defense was also recognized, splitting the nod with Wilson’s Eleanor Laird for co-outstanding libero. Landberg recorded 99 digs across 52 sets played and was second on the team in aces with 41.

The Lady Wildcats were recognized with superlative awards for Jordan Bruscato (MVP), Sally North (outstanding blocker), Taisha Rhone (outstanding hitter), Laird, Madeleine Douglass (co-newcomer of the year) and head coach Jim Harris (coach of the year). Bryan Adams’ A’Blesin Wilson split with Douglass for the district’s top newcomer.

The three Carrollton schools totaled 13 student-athletes named to the all-district first and second teams. Creekview senior Amanda Houdek and sophomore Sarah Pickett were named to the first team along with Smith sophomore Ledisi Kpea and senior Adrean Edwards, plus Turner sophomore Sayer Taylor and senior Tanner Barnwell.

Second-team picks from C-FB ISD included Creekview senior Laila Fortson, senior Makaylia Askew and junior Rece Nottingham. Smith was represented on the second team by senior Aydia Cobb and sophomore Eriona Zeqiri, as was Turner senior Talor Close and Marissa Mendioroz.

Honorable mention nods went to Creekview senior Meleigha Martinez, Creekview freshman Alyssa Luevanos, Smith senior Nicki Kheradbin, Smith junior Stephanie Balderrama, Turner junior Kenia Gonzalez, Turner junior Gabriela Castaneda and Turner freshman Dylann Barnwell.

The three schools also had numerous players acknowledged for their work in the classroom with 31 total student-athletes named academic all-state. Creekview players who earned that designation were Askew, junior McKenzie Davis, junior Sophia Fresquez, Landberg, Luevanos, Martinez, Nottingham, Pickett, junior Vipha Prum, junior Jocelyn Rodriguez and freshman Naiyah Woodard. 

Smith’s all-state honorees were sophomore Kya Nelson, Kheradbin, senior Adaiah Kirby, senior Emily Garcia, Zeqiri, Balderrama, Pivonka, senior Loryn Fontenot, Cobb, Kpea, senior Christina Allish and Goldstein.

Turner’s all-state selections were freshman Rebecca Avina, Dylann Barnwell, Tanner Barnwell, Castaneda, sophomore Catherine Stepaniak, Taylor, sophomore Alexis Hoverter and Gonzalez.

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

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