It’s only fair that the 2011 Texas Girls Coaches Association pre-season volleyball poll opens with some of 2010’s best teams, but in Class 4A there is one big error – Waxahachie is not mentioned in the top-15.
Like last season, Red Oak pulls in a top-10 pre-season position taking the No. 6 spot while several teams from Region II also make the list.
Defending state champ Lake Travis (Austin) opens the season as No. 1 while its opponent in the 2010 state championship game, Brenham, finished outside the top-10 at the first “others” team mentioned.
Friendswood, a team that did not advance to state last year, starts the season No. 2 overall while last year’s Region II champ Richardson J.J. Pearce is No. 3.
Waxahachie has advanced to the Region II tournament for the last two years and each time lost to Pearce in the opening round before Pearce advanced to state.
With a seasoned team the Lady Indians believe they are capable of beating Pearce this season and hope to meet up with them again at regionals to prove it.
“I’m hoping to make it back to regionals this year but we have a long road ahead,” Waxahachie captain Sophie Stevens said. “I have no idea what to expect from other teams but Pearce is always a strong team and hopefully we will be meeting at the regional tournament again. Third time’s the charm.”
The Colony, Region I’s representative at state last season, starts 2011 in the No. 4 position while Canyon Randall is fifth, Red Oak sixth, Victoria West seventh, Smithson Valley eighth, Highland Park (Region II) ninth and Pearland Dawson 10th.
With three teams from Region II in the top-10, Waxahachie will have its work cut out for it to advance to state, but that is nothing new.
Last year Waxahachie advanced to the Region II tournament along with all the Region II teams that are ranked in the pre-season poll and returns more key players than any of the other teams.
Waxahachie started the season 2-0 with wins over Midlothian and Lake Dallas before entering today’s Denton Ryan Varsity Kick-off Classic.
With at least five games scheduled in the Classic the Lady Indians are likely to start next week with a winning record and position themselves to start their climb in the TGCA poll.
Most coaches agree that preseason polls, or polls in general, mean little. But when your biggest rival is thought of so highly entering the season it amps up the two scheduled matches you have against them.
Waxahachie has a chance to face Red Oak in the Classic this weekend, though WHS head coach Sandy Faussett-Stoops would rather wait and face the Lady Hawks on Sept. 23 in District 15-4A competition.
Both teams are in the top-tier of the bracket with Waxahachie opening against Denison today while Red Oak opens with Frisco Heritage on Friday.
If both teams win their first three games they will meet Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the top-tier bracket championship to decide who goes to the gold bracket finale.
No matter what happens Thursday and Friday, the earliest Waxahachie and Red Oak could meet up is Saturday at Ryan High School.
Red Oak enters the tournament with a 1-2 record after being swept by Lovejoy, TGCA’s top Class 3A team, in the season opener Monday before splitting a double header on Tuesday.
Red Oak defeated Highland Park (0-2) in five sets Tuesday (20-25, 25-15, 25-10, 24-26, 15-11) before being swept by Pearce (2-1) 25-22, 25-22, 25-12.
Last season Red Oak opened the year ranked No. 5 and defeated Waxahachie in both district meetings before reaching the Region II tournament where it defeated Highland Park in round one before losing to Pearce in the second round.
Following the tournament the Lady Indians will host Wylie and Rowlett Tuesday before playing in the Byron Nelson Classic next weekend.