Wednesday marked the 27th ESPY Awards, the annual ceremony devoted to honoring standout professional and collegiate athletes and teams of the past year.
It’s the sports equivalent to the Oscars or Grammys, so why not put a high school spin on the concept?
Over the past school year, the Little Elm area has showcased no shortage of notable individual and team athletic achievements, so it is only appropriate to put the last season of local citywide sports into an award-winning perspective. In the coming weeks, the city’s top athletes, teams and games will be recognized among nine different awards.
With that said, Star Local Media presents Part II of the seventh edition of The Varsitys.
Lauren Lucas, no-hitter versus Grapevine
With its back against the ropes in Game 3 of its first-round series with Grapevine, the Little Elm softball team needed its best performance from its star player.
After the Lady Lobos squandered Game 1 by a score of 7-4, they climbed back to narrowly win the following contest, 3-1, but yet many were not surprised with what followed in the decisive Game 3.
Not only did Little Elm come out firing with six runs in the first inning, but it tacked on five more in the third before Grapevine could even record a hit and led 11-0 after three.
Starting pitcher Lauren Lucas had a great deal to do with the offensive explosion by going 2-for-4 at the plate with a game-high three RBIs, but it was her dominance in the circle that made this outing even more memorable.
The Wichita State commit tossed a no-hitter, as her squad run-ruled the Lady Mustangs in a 13-0 blowout to advance to round two of the postseason.
Jill Miller, Little Elm softball
It’s only fitting that the inaugural softball all-area Coach of the Year at Star Local Media also earns the nod for Best Coach in Little Elm in the same year.
In just her second season at the helm, Miller led the Lady Lobos to the fifth round of the postseason, something no other Little Elm athletics program had ever done prior to this past spring.
Miller led Little Elm to an impressive 10-2 record and before eventually falling to district rival The Colony in the fifth round, Little Elm’s magical playoff run featured a pair of come-from-behind series wins after dropping the first game to Grapevine in the first round and again versus Azle in the third.
However, the Lady Lobos’ resiliency was unmatched, as they went on to dismantle Grapevine and Azle by a combined score of 25-3 in Game 3. Miller’s coaching was a big reason for that, as she led Little Elm to a 30-win season.
Little Elm vs. The Colony volleyball, Sept. 7
Although the Little Elm volleyball team concluded last year at the bottom of the District 8-5A standings at 2-10, last season marked a couple of firsts for the up-and-coming program.
Early in the district slate, the Lady Lobos swept a Lake Dallas squad that went on to make the playoffs and improved to 2-1 just three games in.
The only other district triumph came just the week before in the district opener against the program’s fiercest rival – The Colony. The Lady Cougars entered the contest as heavy favorites despite Little Elm steamrolling through the preseason.
The Colony came out firing on all cylinders and it appeared as if a sweep was in the making after it took the first two sets over Little Elm and held a lead midway through the third.
However, the Lady Lobos had other plans when they cruised to a 25-15 victory in the third set and then forced a pivotal fifth and deciding game after narrowly taking the following set, 25-23.
After a continuous back-and-forth exchange, Little Elm closed out the miraculous comeback effort by hanging on to take the fifth set, 15-13, and defeated The Colony for the first time in program history.