Though the delayed start to the volleyball season meant just a handful of non-district matches, it became clear pretty early on that the 9-6A race was a two-team affair.
Sachse and Wylie did not drop a set as they rolled through the district field, with the exception of when they faced each other.
The Mustangs won the first meeting in a five-game classic, outlasting the Pirates for a 25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-10 victory. Wylie turned the tables in the rematch, rallying from an early deficit to post a 23-25, 25-22, 31-29, 25-20 win.
Sachse and Wylie fittingly shared the 9-6A championship after posting identical 13-1 records and they showed that regular season dominance was no fluke in the playoffs.
The Mustangs and Pirates each advanced to the Class 6A Region 2 tournament before each fell to state runner-up Klein—the Mustangs in the semifinals and the Pirates in the finals.
Given their success, it is no surprise that the two teams captured the lion’s share of the awards on the all-district team.
Sachse placed nine players on the squad and brought home six superlative awards.
That group was led by senior Shaliyah Rhoden, who was named co-offensive player of the year. Rhoden, who was recently named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 6A all-state team, recorded 253 kills (3.3 kpg), as she surpassed 1,000 for her career, to go along with 184 digs (2.4 dpg), 28 aces and 25 blocks.
Junior Zoria Heard was tabbed co-server of the year after leading the team with 40 aces. Heard, who was not only named to the TGCA all-state team, but also to compete in the TGCA all-star game, was also one of the top liberos in the state, where she recorded 330 digs, averaging 4.5 per set on the season and 5.0 digs against tough non-district competition.
Senior Claire Romo was selected as the setter of the year for the second consecutive season. Romo tallied 764 assists, an average of 9.7 per game, while also adding 188 digs and 31 aces.
Senior Kayla Grant was another repeat winner after claiming the blocker of the year honor. Grant not only led the team with 57 blocks, she was also second in attacking with 190 kills (2.6 kpg).
Freshman Favor Anyanwu made an immediate splash to capture newcomer of the year. Anyanwu registered 127 kills, an average of 2.4 per set, to go along with 50 blocks.
Rikki Jones was voted as the 9-6A coach of the year after leading the Mustangs to a 23-3 record and a No. 9 ranking in the final TGCA state poll. Jones, who had guided Sachse since its inaugural campaign in 2004, has helped the Mustangs to 17 consecutive playoff appearances, eight straight district titles and this was their third trip to the regional tournament.
Sachse landed two more players on the first team with senior Elizabeth Woods and sophomore Macy Taylor.
Woods added another force at the net, averaging 2.0 kills per game and tallying 49 blocks.
Taylor emerged as a future star, recording 176 kills (2.8 kpg) and 198 digs (2.6 dpg) with 36 blocks and 24 aces.
Senior Sydney Ross (1.3 kpg, 11 blocks) was named to the second team, while senior Karissa Korinek (1.2 dpg, 17 aces) was an honorable mention selection.
Rowlett finished one game out of the playoff picture, but still earned its share of accolades.
Junior setter/right side Chyanne Bradford was the Eagles’ lone member of the first team.
Rowlett landed a trio of players on the second team with senior outside hitter/right side Ashley Ung, junior middle blocker/right side Shawna Daniels and sophomore middle blocker/right side Jasmine Riggins.
Junior Reese Davison and sophomore right side/outside hitter Madeline Levvis were honorable mention picks.
Lakeview finished third in 9-6A and was rewarded with seven all-district selections.
Senior defensive specialist Tayler Harris was named to the first team after she tallied 321 digs, an average of 4.6 per set, and 22 aces. She was joined on the first team by junior Payton Williams, who had 91 kills (1.3 kpg), 27 aces and a district-leading 120 blocks.
Lakeview’s three second-team nods went to senior setter Ashley Ramos (3.2 apg, 2.2 dpg, 41 aces), senior right side Myah Robinson (1.8 kpg, 72 blocks) and senior outside hitter Kyla Riley (1.1 kpg, 2.5 dpg).
Junior outside hitter Lauryn Allen-Upshaw (1.1 kpg, 3.7 dpg) and sophomore right side Joya Graham (2.5 dpg, 2.4 apg 1.2 kpg 47 blocks, 26 aces) made the honorable mention list.
North Garland snapped a lengthy playoff drought and its breakthrough was recognized with eight members of the all-district team.
That group was led by first-team honorees in senior outside hitter Crystal Oparaji and senior libero Valerie Aguilera.
The second team includes sophomore middle hitter Abby Patterson and senior setter Alexis Wooten, while the honorable mentions are senior middle hitter/right side Susu Osayande, sophomore middle hitter Avery Patterson, freshman setter/defensive specialist Athena Nguyen, and freshman middle blocker Zina Chukuwumah.
Naaman Forest was represented by senior setter Mallory Onstat on the first team, senior libero/defensive specialist Catherine Ballard on the second team and senior outside hitter Kennedi Marshall and junior middle hitter Kaylyn Minor as honorable mentions.
Garland sophomore Nina Selders was voted to the second team, with teammates Danielle Brown, Kelsey Simmons and Diamond Powers as honorable mention picks, while South Garland was represented by second-team senior Natalie Ordonez and honorable mentions Janet Cruz, Jessica Aranda, Vanessa Miranda and Alexis Smith.
Wylie, the only non-GISD team, had nine honorees, highlighted by four superlative awards.
Senior Ana Heath was voted as the 9-6A most valuable player after putting together an eye-popping all-around season that included 306 kills (3.6 kpg), 304 assists (3.6 apg), 152 digs (1.8 dpg), 51 blocks and 50 aces.
Senior Victoria Vo was chosen as the co-offensive player of the year, as she tallied 192 kills (2.2 kpg), 275 digs (3.2 dpg), 50 aces and 21 blocks.
Senior Niki Perry registered 354 digs, an average of 4.1 per set, to win defensive player of the year honors.
Senior Izzy Jones was selected as the co-server of the year, but like Sachse’s Heard, did much more, as she recorded 466 assists (5.6 apg), 178 kills (2.1 kpg), 170 digs (2.0 dpg), 47 aces and 35 blocks.
The Pirates landed a trio of players on the first team with senior Niah Turner (2.9 kpg, 79 blocks), sophomore Lauren Morano (2.0 dpg, 39 aces) and sophomore Trinity Blackwood (1.4 kpg, 80 blocks), while senior Abi Williams (72 kills, 33 blocks) and junior Cori Westfall (58 digs) were honorable mention picks.
9-6A Volleyball All-District Team
Most Valuable Player
Ana Heath Sr. Wylie
Co-Offensive Players of the Year
Shaliyah Rhoden Sr. Sachse
Victoria Vo Sr. Wylie
Defensive Player of the Year
Niki Perry Sr. Wylie
Co-Servers of the Year
Zoria Heard Jr. Sachse
Izzy Jones Sr. Wylie
Setter of the Year
Claire Romo Sr. Sachse
Blocker of the Year
Kayla Grant Sr. Sachse
Newcomer of the Year
Favor Anyanwu Fr. Sachse
Coach of the Year
Rikki Jones Sachse
Elizabeth Woods Sr. Sachse
Macy Taylor So. Sachse
Chyanne Bradford Jr. Rowlett
Tayler Harris Sr. Lakeview
Payton Williams Jr. Lakeview
Crystal Oparaji Sr. North Garland
Valerie Aguilera Sr. North Garland
Mallory Onstat Sr. Naaman Forest
Niah Tucker Sr. Wylie
Lauren Morano So. Wylie
Trinity Blackwood So. Wylie
Sydney Ross Sr. Sachse
Ashley Ung Sr. Rowlett
Shawna Daniels Jr. Rowlett
Jasmine Riggins So. Rowlett
Ashley Ramos Sr. Lakeview
Myah Robinson Sr. Lakeview
Kyla Riley Sr. Lakeview
Abby Patterson Sr. North Garland
Alexis Wooten Sr. North Garland
Catherine Ballard Sr. Naaman Forest
Nina Selders So. Garland
Natalie Ordonez Sr. South Garland
Karissa Korinek Sr. Sachse
Reese Davison Jr. Rowlett
Madeline Levvis So. Rowlett
Lauryn Allen-Upshaw Jr. Lakeview
Joya Graham So. Lakeview
Athena Nguyen Fr. North Garland
Zina Chukwuman Fr. North Garland
Avery Patterson So. North Garland
Susu Osayande Sr. North Garland
Kennedi Marshall Sr. Naaman Forest
Kaylyn Minor Jr. Naaman Forest
Danielle Brown Garland
Kelsey Simmons Garland
Diamond Powers Garland
Janet Cruz South Garland
Jessica Aranda South Garland
Vanessa Miranda South Garland
Alexis Smith South Garland
Abi Williams Sr. Wylie
Cori Westfall Jr. Wylie