Volleyball Girls Finish Best Season in 20 Years
- Written by Maddie Ashworth
Brentwood Christian’s best volleyball season in 20 years ended Tuesday night in Bellville, as they were defeated by Bay Area Christian in three sets. The girls finished second in district with a 9-1 record, and they advanced deeper in the playoffs than any Brentwood team since the Bears were state runners-up in 1992. BCS last won a playoff game in 2003. With a bus full of Brentwood students in attendance, the Lady Bears began their playoff game against Bay Area in a hole, but they tied the score at 11-11. The teams went back and forth until the Lady Broncos took the lead 20-19 and went on to win the first set 25-22.
In the second set BCS tied the score at 3-3 before Bay Area took the lead and held on to win 25-17. The Lady Bears took the lead 3-2 in the third set but then lost the lead. They came within one point of tying the score, 22-21, but lost the set 25-22.
Junior Avery Westerlund led the girls with several rallying serve sequences. The Lady Bears became area champs last Friday, Oct. 26, when they traveled to San Antonio and beat Keystone School in three sets (25-8, 25-15, and 25-13). There were two buses of Brentwood students at the game who came to support the girls, and they arrived back on campus about 9 p.m.
“We expected the game to be more competitive than it was, but as a team we didn’t make many mistakes,” senior Brooklyn Merkord said. In their first playoff game the girls beat Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills at Brentwood on Tuesday,
Oct. 23, in three quick sets (25-4, 25-4, and 25-8). The crowd was not as enthusiastic as they were in previous matches because of the lead that Brentwood took so quickly. “The Kerrville game really gave us time to speed up our offense and get ready for harder teams,” Westerlund said. Most of the Bears’ district opponents were not competitive, as BCS won nearly all the matches in three sets, but Round Rock Christian School was exception. After RRCA beat Brentwood in September in four sets, the teams played again on Oct. 4, and this time Brentwood won in three sets with an enthusiastic crowd creating an exciting atmosphere.
The two teams were then tied for first in district, and a playoff match was scheduled at Summit Christian Academy in Cedar Park on Oct. 18. Fan buses were taken to encourage students to go support the girls. Round Rock won the first two sets with scores of 25-19 and 25-20 before the Bears, trailing in the third, began to gain momentum when freshman Blair Westerlund made several kills. The third set went to 31 points with Brentwood coming out winners, 31-29. In the last set the crowd sat anticipating another win, but the girls could not keep up and lost 25-13. During games when there was a good pass, Blair Westerlund and fellow freshman Brenna Decker knew what to do. Decker would set the ball just above the net, and Westerlund would come up swiftly and smack the ball down into sometimes unsuspecting opponents.
“We’ve been playing together for five years now, so we know each other as volleyball players pretty well, and we have signs and signals we do on the court,” Decker said.
Blair Westerlund led the Lady Bears with an average of 12 kills per match, while her sister Avery led the team averaging two blocks per match.
Decker led the girls with an average of 15 assists
per match. Freshman Keely Hardin led the team with a 2.3 passer rating out of 3.0.
According to head coach Britt James-Sauceda, the girls improved a lot since August. The fast-paced offense they had was a strength that helped them go far, she said, and the girls had such a willingness to learn more from the coaches. “The entire team stepped up their game this year,” she said. “Each player gave 100 percent and began to build amazing bonds with one another. The seniors provided outstanding leadership and spiritual maturity.” James-Sauceda also credited the fans for helping make the season successful, and Merkord agreed. “The support of our fans throughout the seasonhas been great, and we are thankful for them coming out each game,” Merkord said.
Assistant coach Tara Hatfield said she enjoyed
coaching the girls very much. “They were a great group to coach, and all improved tremendously in such a short time,” she said.
James-Sauceda said she is optimistic about the future of Brentwood volleyball.
“An extremely high level of play will be the standard for next year,” she said.