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Girls volleyball teams tune up for season in tournament play

High school volleyball started last weekend with preseason action, which continued Tuesday night and will continue with the start of tournament play this weekend.

Area teams such as Nederland and Memorial will head to Vidor today for tournament action.

Meanwhile, the Port Neches-Groves Lady Indians play host to Silsbee and Santa Fe in back-to-back games Friday, starting at 4:30 p.m.

The Rock-A-Noos had back-to-back matches on Tuesday as well. They went 1-1 by falling to Barbers Hill in four games and then turned the tables on Bridge City for a four-game winner.

The Rock-A-Noos went 27-9 overall in 2008 and finished second in District 20-4A with a 12-2 mark. The Lady Indians lost four key players from last year’s team, but head coach Barbara Comeaux’s is hoping there is enough experience on this year’s team that will carry over from 2008, a season that ended with an area round Class 4A playoff loss to Buda Hays.

“We have several players returning from last year’s varsity team. I think that experience will help us this year,” Comeaux said. “We have eight returners, so I’m hoping they will know and understand what it is going to take. Every year we have the same goal here and that is to win district. Our preseason schedule should help us get ready for that.”

The Rock-A-Noos will participate in tournaments at La Porte, Santa Fe and Dickinson. Their first district matchup will be Sept. 8 at Little Cypress-Mauriceville against the Lady Bears, who won district in 2008. PN-G was crowned league champs in 2007.

“We have experience on this team but we are asking the girls to move into different positions and we are still looking for the right sets right now. Hopefully we’re going to find what works best,” said Comeaux, who added that the district race will be as tough as usual.

Comeaux said LC-M and Ozen will bring in strong, athletic squads and that Nederland can never be counted out.

Nederland, which won district in 2006, failed to make the playoffs in 2007 but returned in 2008 with a fourth place finish at 7-7. The Lady Dogs went 17-16 last year and were knocked out of the playoffs by Crosby in the first round.

Head coach Toni Leach had the same assessments as Comeaux about the district, claiming LC-M, Ozen and PN-G as the teams to beat.

But Leach said her young team has worked hard over the summer and she expects them to be very competitive this season.

The Lady Dogs swept West Brook on Tuesday night with scores of 25-23, 25-18 and 25-16.

Leach has just three returning starters back from 2008 — Holly Pryor, Krista Mayor and Alese Pinner — but she said her team is starting to gel.

“We’ve looked good in scrimmages so far,” she said. “I like what I see. They work hard and they work well together.”

After this weekend’s tournament in Vidor, Nederland will later join PN-G at the La Porte and Santa Fe tournaments. The Lady Dogs first district matchup is set for Sept. 8 against Ozen. That game will be in Nederland and is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Memorial Lady Titans will be looking to climb from the cellar this season, as they finished dead last in District 21-5A in 2008.

Memorial head coach Debra Harris said she feels good about the players she has returning, as well as the underclassmen who will be making their first varsity appearances this season.

The Lady Titans dropped a four-game set to West Orange-Stark on Tuesday night with scores of 19-25, 21-25, 25-14, and 16-25.

Harris said she has four returning starters — Wendi Mitchell, Ellelia Mitchell, Kierra Roy and Kiera Hager — who have shown good leadership, which should help in better overall team play.

“We’ve looked good in our scrimmages. We look a lot more competitive and that’s what we are looking for,” she said. “We want to be more competitive, to play as a team and to play good defense.”

Memorial is playing in three tournaments — Vidor this week, La Porte and the YMBL. The Lady Titans open distirct play at home Sept. 25 against North Shore.

Lady Indians:

Megan Elam

Kaylee Powell

Holli Schexnider

Mallory Livingston

Carlie Clopton

Shelby Blanchard

Lauryn Stephens

Paige Blount

Paige Miller

Alexus Harper

Ashli Landry

Kirsten Satterwhite

Kate Fawcett

Lady Dogs:

Alese Pinner

Jeanette Dorris

Layken Richard

Ashley Quintela

Jordi LeBouef

Logan LeBlanc

Victoria Miller

Jessica Cloud

Katie DeLord

Krista Mayer

Cassie Hyde

Holly Pryor

Laney Hernandez

Lady Titans:

DeOntra Kinlaw

Natasha Harrison

Elelia Mitchell

Kierra Roy

Jakelia Sonnier

Kiera Hager

Wendi Mitchell

Courtney Jones

Erica Martin

Katies Pham