FM VB Bella Ortiz

Flower Mound senior Bella Ortiz has shined early on for a Lady Jaguar squad ranked among the top teams in Class 6A.

If the preseason hasn't been any indication of how strong the eight teams in District 6-6A are, just wait until district play commences on Friday.

Seven of the eight teams exited Tuesday’s round of matchups with a winning record with Coppell (20-1) and Flower Mound (21-3) both having at least 20 wins to their credit. Those two rivals are scheduled to meet on the first night of district play at Coppell Sports Arena.

That Sept. 10 bout is one of just several on the docket for what should be a very competitive district. 

Beforehand, the Star Local Media sports staff makes their projections at who will represent 6-6A in the postseason when the dust settles in a couple months.

 

Matt Welch

1. Flower Mound

Despite graduating two of the top hitters in program history in Kaylee Cox and Angelique Cyr, the Lady Jaguars still stack up among the top tier in Class 6A. Flower Mound enters district with an unbeaten run through the Marauder Showcase, a Northwest ISD Volleyball Classic champion and silver bracket title win at Volleypalooza.

Senior Gabby Walker earned an all-tournament spot at Volleypalooza and was one of four Lady Jaguars to recently earn All-America status by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

You can’t put a price on culture, and that’s what head coach Jamie Siegel has built in helping coach the Lady Jaguars to the most productive stretch in their history.

It’s meant adopting a few stylistic tweaks and a more even-keeled approach on offense, but it hasn’t slowed Flower Mound’s productivity as it eyes a fourth consecutive district championship.

2. Plano West

At full strength, head coach Justin Waters thinks the Lady Wolves have the ability to make a lengthy playoff run. West has showcased that potential in spurts this season but has played without a full deck for stretches with senior Jean Dixon, the reigning 6-6A co-hitter of the year, battling a foot injury.

So long as the Lady Wolves have a full deck for their district run, they’ve got the firepower to hang with anyone. 

Junior Blaire Bayless picked up tournament MVP honors following West’s first-place finish at the Allen Texas Open, and seniors Kaila Garnett, Joyce Wang and juniors Katelyn Ruhman and Katherine Han have been among those to step up throughout the preseason.

3. Marcus

The Lady Marauders bring back plenty of firepower from their 2020 playoff qualifier, including their top four hitters in seniors Maggie Boyd, Ifenna Cos-Okpala, Haidyn Sokoloski and Madison Dyer.

Boyd, in particular, has picked up where she left off following an all-area junior campaign, earning all-tournament honors at the prestigious Volleypalooza tournament last weekend. The Lady Marauders posted a 7-2 record to win the bronze bracket and finish 17th of 68 teams.

That hitting depth should serve Marcus well as it navigates 6-6A, seeking to build off a third-place finish last season. 

4. Hebron

It was a pretty agonizing exercise trying to lock in a pick for this last spot. This is far from a cut-and-dry playoff field, with a number of programs capable of vying for one of these four spots.

Coppell has one of the best records of any program in the state at 20-1 following Tuesday’s 3-0 sweep of Euless Trinity — the Cowgirls’ seventh sweep in their past eight matches — but haven’t had a chance to test themselves against the area’s elite quite like some of their district bunkmates have.

Plano might be on the smaller side compared to the rest of 6-6A but its defensive acumen has led to some encouraging results against Sachse, Allen and Bishop Lynch, and Plano East has the size to potentially surprise this season under first-year head coach Nikki Pugh. Lewisville has a shot at history if it can upset the district’s balance of power for its first playoff berth since 1997. 

Hebron may just be a couple games over .500 at 11-9 but that’s partly due to a brutal preseason schedule. The pick here is for senior Harmony Sample and Co. to right the ship after the Lady Hawks missed the playoffs for the first time ever last season.

 

David Wolman

1. Flower Mound

The Lady Jaguars haven't missed a beat despite some key losses to graduation from a team that was a Class 6A state semifinalist a year ago. The offense is more widespread with Gabby Walker, Bella Ortiz, Maddie Cox and Cat Young all chipping in comparable production each night. The Lady Jaguars return all-district players in setter Megan Farris and libero Elaina Amador.

Flower Mound won the prestigious Northwest ISD Volleyball Classic on Aug. 21.

2. Coppell

First-year head coach Libby Pacheco has the Cowgirls clicking on all cylinders. The Cowgirls have two tournament titles to their credit, most recently the Arlington Showcase Invitational on Aug. 28. Junior middle blocker Allie Stricker was named tournament MVP. Stricker is helping to fortify a position that was previously occupied by 2020 District 6-6A blocker of the year Madison Gilliland (Texas Tech signee).

Coppell returns all-district players in senior outside hitter Haley Holz and senior libero Beca Centeno.

3. Plano West

The Lady Wolves defeated Denton Guyer in a five-set thriller on Tuesday, avenging a loss last year to the Lady Wildcats in the regional quarterfinal. Senior outside hitter Kaila Garnett has 93 kills on the season to lead a balanced offensive attack for West.

The Lady Wolves graduated district setter of the year Ashley Le (Virginia signee), but senior Camille Heidemann has helped to make for a seamless transition. West was the only 6-6A team to beat Flower Mound last season.

4. Hebron

It's been an up-and-down start to the season for the Lady Hawks, but Hebron has picked up some solid wins along the way. The Lady Hawks downed Byron Nelson and Guyer on Aug. 13 -- both in five sets --and reigning District 6-5A champion Denton on Aug. 20.

Senior Harmony Sample (Notre Dame pledge) stuffed the stat sheet with 161 kills, 29 service aces, 22 blocks and 136 digs last season. Hebron returns all-district players in seniors Lia Okammor and Emily Phan, and junior Jada Johnson.   

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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