Grace Witham

The Colony sophomore Grace Witham (6) makes a pass while fellow sophomore Kacie Rangel backs up the play during a recent match at Lovejoy. 

The first half of the district volleyball season came to a close on Tuesday and The Colony has positioned itself to contend for one of the four playoff berths that will come out of District 10-5A.

Lovejoy appears to again be the team to beat while McKinney North is right on its heels. But, first-year Lady Cougars head coach Rachel Buckley has her team believing in themselves. The Colony swept Denison 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-12) on Tuesday. The Lady Cougars are battling for a playoff spot along with Prosper Rock Hill, Wylie East and Princeton.

Here is where the eight teams in District 10-5A stand heading into the second half of league play (district record in parenthesis, as of Wednesday):

1. Lovejoy (7-0): Despite having to quarantine for the first two weeks over concerns of a positive COVID-19 case, Lovejoy has looked every bit like the team that came into the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/USA Super 25 preseason rankings. The defending Class 5A state champion and current No. 1-ranked team in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association has yet to lose a set on the season.

2. McKinney North (6-1): The 10th-ranked team in Class 5A has a firm grip on the No. 2 seed in 10-5A and will get a chance to avenge their lone loss in district play (Lovejoy) on Nov. 6. North holds a two-game lead over The Colony in the standings with the Lady Bulldogs having defeated them last Friday. Nine of the 12 wins on the season for North have come in straight sets.

T-3. The Colony (4-3): A young Lady Cougars team, with only one starter with proven experience, is starting to turn heads. The Colony is 6-5 since starting the season 0-3 and has won four of their last six matches. How the Lady Cougars fare in upcoming matches against Prosper Rock Hill (Oct. 27), Wylie East (Oct. 30) and Princeton (Nov. 3) could determine who slides into the playoffs and who is left out. The Colony has already beaten Rock Hill and East but lost to Princeton.

T-3. Rock Hill (4-3): The first-year program has found it footing. The Blue Hawks could potentially make the playoffs if they continue to build on their recent streak, which comes after a shaky start to the season. Rock Hill is 4-3 over its last seven matches after starting the season 1-7. 

T-5. Wylie East (3-4): East has qualified for the playoffs every since 2016, but the Lady Raiders have some work to do if they are to extend that streak to five consecutive seasons. East has been a streaky team. The Lady Raiders won their first four matches of the season, followed by three straight losses before bouncing back with two more wins. East lost 3-0 to North on Tuesday.

T-5. Princeton (3-4): Princeton is just 1-2 on the season against The Colony, East and Rock Hill with their lone win coming against the Lady Cougars. But, the Lady Panthers get East and Rock Hill at home in the second go-around of the season between those teams. Senior Brianna Barch has 124 kills, 21 blocks and 20 digs.

7. Sherman (1-6): Sherman recently avenged a straight-set loss a year ago to Denison. The Lady Bearcats topped the Lady Yellow Jackets 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) on Oct. 6 for their first win in district play.

8. Denison (0-7): It’s been a rough go for the Lady Yellow Jackets, who haven’t won a set in any of the 12 matches that they have played this season.

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