Before the season began, Midlothian Heritage hoped its pre-district volleyball scheduled would lead to a first-ever district championship and a return to the regional tournament.
The first was accomplished last Tuesday against Life Waxahachie. The second will have to wait a few weeks to see if it plays out.
But a third, unplanned feat occurred Tuesday night.
Heritage finished its District 17-4A schedule perfect — like 10-0 in the minimum 30 sets required to win each of the matches kind of perfect.
The Jaguars quickly took care of business against Hillsboro to finish off the regular season, 25-13, 25-5, 25-7.
Hannah Larson led Heritage with 12 kills on 16 swings, while Grayce Davis had eight kills and Kelsey Carpenter had seven. The Jaguars finished the match with a .353-hitting percentage as a team on 18 assists by Rachel Richie and 16 more contributed by Carpenter.
On the defensive side the net, the Jaguars limited Hillsboro to a 0.000-hitting percentage with 11 kills on 53 attempts.
Kaylee Rutenbar and Katie Chambers led the Jaguars with eight and seven digs, respectively.
The victory improved TGCA No. 4 Heritage to 27-14 on the season.
LAST TIME OUT
The seemingly inevitable occurred for the fourth-ranked Midlothian Heritage volleyball team on Tuesday: The Jaguars have won their first district championship in the program's three-year varsity history.
Heritage soundly defeated Venus, 25-4, 25-10, 25-18, to accomplish the feat after also sweeping Life Waxahachie last Friday, 25-12, 25-11, 25-18. Both matches were on the road and continued the perfect run through District 17-4A for the Jaguars, who have now swept all eight district matches to improve to 25-14 on the season.
"Now that the end of the district is kind of in sight, playoffs are definitely more of a thought than they were, say, a week ago," said second-year Heritage head volleyball coach Timmi Blackshear on the court following the win against Life Waxahachie. "I am still trying to focus the girls on taking it one game at a time, one practice at a time and making sure we are making that progress every day."
During the match against Life Waxahachie, Kelsey Carpenter finished just four digs shy of a triple-double to lead the Jaguars in a game that Blackshear said she thought they played "aggressive offense across the board." Carpenter finished with 13 kills on 24 attempts (.458-hitting percentage), 12 assists, six digs and three blocks.
Hannah Larson and Grayce Davis also each added seven kills, while sophomore Elizabeth Schmidt finished with six and Karena Tipton fired home five.
Rachel Richie recorded a match-high 29 assists.
"I felt like it was a good team win," Blackshear added. "[...] Our blocking was great and defensively we came up with some great tips and digs. I felt like it was a great team effort and everyone contributed."
On the defensive end, Katie Chambers led the way with 21 digs and Kaylee Rutenbar added 13 and was a perfect 12-of-12 on serves received.
The Jaguars also committed just four service errors on 74 attempts.
"I really did appreciate how scrappy we were," Blackshear said. "We got some great balls up off of the floor and turned them into aggressive plays, even out of system. I felt like our hustle and work ethic were definitely better than what I have seen the last couple of weeks, so I hope that kind of motivates us to continue to put in that work every day."
Heritage continued its stellar play Tuesday against Venus, so much so that the stats look somewhat pedestrian after a match in which the Lady Bulldogs tallied just 22 total points across the three sets.
Carpenter again recorded a double-double with 10 kills (11 attempts) and 12 assists, while Larson added eight kills and Davis had four. Richie posted a team-high 15 assists.
Kaylee Keasler led the Jaguars with four digs.
Heritage faces Gatesville in the 4A Region II bi-district round at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Waco University.