Waxahachie is no stranger to the Arlington Invitational volleyball tournament as it regularly competes in the event as the last scheduled tournament of the season.
Yet when the Lady Indians open play Friday there will be a sense of something new as this team has never entered a tournament ranked No. 4 in state and likewise has never had to play with a target on its back.
Waxahachie will be one of the highest ranked teams in the tournament as five of the 32 teams are ranked in the top-10 of the Texas Girls Coaches Association weekly poll.
Southlake Carroll is the top team in the tournament entering as the No. 2 team in Class 5A while the Lady Indians’ No. 4 ranking in 4A is the next highest mark. Also representing Class 4A are No. 6 Dumas and No. 7 Red Oak. Class 3A is represented by No. 5 Decatur.
Waxahachie (15-2) opens pool six play at 10:15 a.m. Friday against Abilene at Lamar High School before playing Mansfield Summit at 12:45 p.m. and Plano at 3:15.
The winner of pool six plays the fourth place team from pool three at 5 p.m. Friday in a challenge match to determine seeding for Saturday’s bracket play. The second place team from pool six plays the third place team from pool five at 6:15 p.m. in the challenge match.
Pool three does not have a ranked team, but is the pool for Mesquite Horn, Boswell, Northwest and Bishop Lynch.
Winners of the challenge matches play in the gold bracket starting at 9:15 a.m. Saturday while losers in the challenge matches play in the consolation bracket starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Through the first two tournaments of the season the Lady Indians have had two players earn all-tournament honors. Kate Praslicka won the honor in the Denton Ryan Kick-off Classic before Lacie Tucker was honored after the Byron Nelson Volleyball Classic.
Praslicka missed Tuesday’s District 15-4A opener against Ennis due to soreness in her back but is expected to play in the Invitational.
On the season, Praslicka leads Waxahachie with 208 kills and 206 assists while Tucker is the team leader in digs (255), aces (23) and serve receive.
This is the 42nd year of the Arlington Invitational. Last season Bishop Lynch took the tournament championship in a match to Southlake. Red Oak placed third while Waxahachie was fifth.
Praslicka was named to the 2010 Invitational all-tournament team.
Admission costs to the tournament are $15 for an adult two-day pass or $8 for a one-day pass. Student one-day passes are $5. Individual game tickets will not be sold.
All three schools (Arlington High, Lamar High and Nichols Junior High) will have a concessions area run by their respective booster club.
Riding an emotional high from being ranked No. 4 and then the surprise appearance of teammate Tori Bingham at Tuesday’s district opener, Waxahachie has a chance to pad its record as each team is guaranteed six matches, four coming before bracket play.
This is Waxahachie’s final tournament of the year and next to last competition against non-district opponents. Waxahachie’s final non-district game will be played Sept. 9 at home against Mesquite Horn.