SACHSE VOLLEYBALL SHALIYAH RHODEN

Shaliyah Rhoden and Sachse are in search of their seventh consecutive district championship.

Sachse and Rowlett have ruled the volleyball landscape for the last 15 years.

During that span, both have made the playoffs every season and in most of those seasons, the district title has been decided in their head-to-head meetings.

Last season introduced a new wrinkle as Wylie not only joined the seven Garland ISD programs, it made an immediate impact by earning a share of the 10-6A crown.

The Pirates made that charge with a slew of young players, but will it be enough to unseat Sachse, who despite some losses has plenty of talent back in the fold. And do not forget Rowlett, who has a streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances and is always a factor.

The Mustangs have captured at least a share of the district title in each of the last six seasons.

There are significant holes to fill with the departure of most valuable player Kara Barnes, setter of the year Elyssa Kennedy and server of the year Emma Winiger, but the cupboard is not bare.

Senior middle hitters Alicia Hearn and Mikaela Brown and junior outside hitter Shaliyah Rhoden were all first-team all-district selections and senior middle blocker Jhayla Bolden, senior libero Chloe Saucedo, senior defensive specialist Sascha Torres and freshmen defensive specialists Ava Camacho and Zoria Heard were also recognized.

The Eagles graduated six seniors, including four-time all-district selection and former most valuable player Essence West.

Rowlett will likely need others to step up if they hope to make a run at the 10-6A title, but they have a nice nucleus with senior outside hitter Haleigh Dockter, senior libero Jessica Carranza and senior right side Staci Guillen

Wylie had three superlative award winners last year and they were all freshmen with offensive player of the year Ana Heath, defensive player of the year Sarah Sheffield and newcomer of the year Tayah Little.

Add senior Sydney Miller and juniors Niah Tucker, Izzy Jones and Niki Perry and the Pirates will be formidable once again.

Naaman Forest tied with Rowlett for third place last season, but must replace six seniors. They will look to rebuild around junior first-teamer Mallory Onstot and senior Chael Harris.

Lakeview and Garland finished in a tie for fifth last season. Juniors Myah Robinson and Elisa Mitchell will try to help the Patriots take the next step, with senior Maya Emeir returning for the Owls.

North Garland is coming off a two-win district season, but could be a candidate to make a move up the standings with seniors Rosa Sheffield, Asia Johnson, Lorelei Ondrick and Jess Nwaka and sophomore Valeria Hernandez.

South Garland, meanwhile, has nowhere to go but up as they search for their first district win since 2013.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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