Since dropping its season opener to unbeaten Flower Mound, the McKinney Boyd volleyball team has been on a roll.
Tuesday’s 3-0 sweep of crosstown rival McKinney — a match won in sets of 25-17, 25-26, 25-14 — marked the Lady Broncos’ eighth consecutive win, good for a record of 8-1 overall and 4-0 against District 5-6A competition.
Having risen to No. 20 in Class 6A in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s state poll, Boyd is tied atop the 5-6A standings with Prosper heading into a high-profile showdown at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against those very Lady Eagles.
“They’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun, exciting match,” said JJ Castillo, Boyd head coach. “It’s going to be challenging because they’re such a well-rounded and balanced team. It’ll be a challenge, but I know the girls are ready for it.”
The Lady Broncos haven’t lacked for preparation leading up their biggest match of the season to date, squaring off against seven teams that qualified for the playoffs a year ago — three of whom were state-ranked at some juncture this season. Of Boyd’s eight straight wins, five have required just three sets.
“We’re just doing a good job of gelling right now. We’re getting on the same page offensively and defensively,” Castillo said. “This is a really dynamic and deep team, and we feel like anyone can come in and help the team out and be a huge factor in a match.
“They’ve done a good job of getting better everyday in practice and we’re just in a groove right now with certain rotations. They’ve done a really good of sharpening things up.”
For as seamlessly as the Lady Broncos have forged that on-court chemistry, one thing that gave Castillo confidence from the onset was her team’s potential depth. Those contributions span up and down the lineup, including at the heart of the offense where Castillo said her team has adapted to three different setters in senior Morgan Milstead, sophomore Camryn Weldon and freshman Carson Eickenhoff.
“Our depth didn’t really surprise so much as it just took some getting used to, like with our three setters and everyone adjusting to different players on the court. I think it’s finally starting to fall into place,” Castillo said.
Those setters have orchestrated an offense that has received big contributions on the outside from juniors Avery Calame (53 kills, 41 digs, five aces in district play) and Hannah Billeter (39 kills, 45 digs), while senior Emily Ludtka (nine blocks) is among several middles who stepped up for an improving block.
“Everyone is doing such a good job of executing their roles in the game,” Castillo said. “It’s literally the team that will help us go far and beat the more dynamic teams. As a whole, they’ve all done a good job of coming in and contributing.”
Castillo saw that collective manifest in perhaps the team’s biggest win of the young season in a 3-1 victory over a high-powered Denton Guyer team on Sept. 29 — an instance where the coach lauded her team’s ability to handle adjustments after dropping the third set to the Lady Wildcats.
That win doubled as a confidence boost for the Lady Broncos, according to Castillo — something the coach hopes carries over into Tuesday when Boyd hosts Prosper. The Lady Eagles, ranked No. 15 in the state, entered Friday with a 6-1 record and winners of six consecutive matches — five via sweep.
“They’re to that point where they’re focused and know they can do it. They know they can compete with Prosper,” Castillo said.