81° F Saturday, June 24, 2017

On the other side of a thoroughly dominant effort, the Lake Travis volleyball team saw a glimpse of itself from the past two seasons in a season-ending loss to The Woodlands Friday.
Coming off back-to-back Class 4A titles, the Lady Cavaliers came up against the No. 4 Class 5A team in their first 5A playoffs, and the 34-2 team beat Lake Travis 25-14, 25-17, 25-18.
“It’s hard to swallow,” Lake Travis volleyball coach Jennifer Kazmierski said. “We thought if we could play our best volleyball and get them out of their system, we would have a shot.”
The Woodlands ran a quick-tempo offense that kept Lake Travis on its heels.
“It was a challenge for us trying to put a block on all their hitters,” Kazmierski said. “We struggled with at the beginning, but we got better at it. There were times it was point for point, and we weren’t allowing any runs. If we could have done that more consistently, we would have had a better shot.”
Kazmierski saw in The Woodlands what she wants the entire Lake Travis program to be similar to.
“The great thing about playing The Woodlands is that’s definitely the pace we want to run,” she said. “They do things we want to create in our program. For the girls to see that and know, that’s the motivation to work. That’s what we want to look for next year.”
The Lady Cavaliers lost much of its roster from last year’s title team, and it took some time for the squad to come together this season, especially during tough tournaments early in the season at Allen and Pearland.
“We lost a lot of matches in the deciding set, whether it was third or fifth,” Kazmierski said. “It will definitely help us for next season in knowing we can go out there and compete against those teams. The other good thing about this season and being in 5A first time is the kids understanding every single time you play, every team is capable of winning. It’s very competitive. The first round, look how tough that was, and then it gets even tougher. There are no rounds you go in and know you have the upper hand. It also gives us the mindset of every single minute counts in the offseason to get better.”
Claire McCown finished the match with six kills and two total blocks, Marisa Ochoa had five kills and a block, while Corey Cable added 14 assists, four digs and an ace.
Olivia Thorpe had four kills and a block, Amanda Wolken wound up with three kills and two total blocks, and Haley Mahlum had eight digs.
McCown, Kaitland Currier, Ochoa and Sherra Mershon will graduate from this year’s team. That also means the team will have a good bit of continuity going into next year.
“I love these seniors,” Kazmierski said. “They’re great kids; they work hard. Because we have so many kids on varsity that were underclassman, it’s going be tough to come in from JV and fight for a spot. I know kids are going to. There are no starters; they’re all starting from square one – here’s your opportunity to go out and earn a spot. It’s going to be a fun group.”
That should mean the team improves on its season this year, as Kazmierski has already set the tone for the already-started offseason.
“We knew we’d struggle early on because we had so many new pieces to the puzzle,” Kazmierski said. “It took us some time to really understand the offense and defense and understand what we wanted to do and develop that chemistry and consistency. We definitely want to keep getting better. Our goals are the same – they want to get back to the state championship. No. 1, we’ve got to believe it; No .2, we’ve got to put in the work to get there. It’s like a map. You’ve got to have a plan and steps along the way to get us there from point A to point B. Take no days off.”

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