Katy Roundup: Lady Coogs primed for Katy title
The long-running Katy ISD volleyball tournament, which has grown into one of the top early-season events in the area, came close to not happening this year.
In past seasons, the cost of the tournament has been about $12,000, with each of the six Katy ISD high schools coming up with $2,000 to help foot the bill. That's money they didn't have this year.
So the school district turned to the community, and a local business stepped up to help keep the tourney alive.
"We didn't have the money," Cinco Ranch coach Tammy Laurence said.
"With all the budget cuts, and people being hit hard, having Remedy Roofing step in and say 'Yes we'll do that,' is just amazing."
The tournament has upped its fees to cover the cost of the officials, with their new sponsor and tournament namesake helping cover the rest of the money.
Needless to say, Laurence couldn't be happier.
Now the Lady Cougars have a shot at their second Katy title in three years, and the last one proved to be a harbinger of great success. They went on to win an undefeated district championship.
They open pool play Thursday against Lamar.
Cinco enters the season with 11 varsity returners, a far cry from last season when they had just two returning starter and 10 new faces.
But the four players they lost were pretty good. They're all playing in college.
Libero Abby McGinnis is at Texas Tech, outside hitter Christa Alvarez is at Arkansas, OH Ella Concavage-Nasar is at Hendricks College and OH Kaitlyn Thumann is playing softball at Baylor.
Those four players gave the Lady Cougars just enough experience to keep their streak of postseason appearances alive last year, when they finished just 15-25 overall and 5-7 in District 19-5A.
"We knew that we were going to be young and we had to take some baby steps, but my team responded well and they did exactly what we asked, and we got better and better," Laurence said. "And because of their work ethic we were able to make it to the playoffs, and I'm proud of them for that.
"They've worked really hard this offseason and I hope that it all pays off this season."
The top returning players are middle blockers Shayla Maldonado and Brianna Vercellino, setters Kennedy Reid, Courtney Cary and Gloria Sumrow, and outside hitter Shelby Cielencki.
"Those are some pretty good players who are coming back, and then we've got several new ones who are making a difference out there, too," Laurence said.
Maldonado's just 5-foot-7 but a beast in the middle, Laurence says.
"She's very athletic, she's fun to watch," Laurence said. "She's quick, she likes to get in there. She's not the normal height for a middle, but the girl can jump and she's very aggressive."
Vercellino brings similar power to the middle, providing a nice complement. The team's 6-2 offense will be orchestrated by any two of the three setters at any given time, depending on who's hot.
Cielencki will compete with returning OH Bethany Holub and junior newcomer Lexi Dolan for time outside.
"It's going to come down to who's going to play defense and then who's getting the kills," Laurence said.
Rice honoring military
The Rice athletic department and Gallery Furniture are teaming up to allow members of the military and first responders who serve locally to enjoy the 100th season of Rice football free of charge.
Members of all branches of the military, along with members of fire, police and rescue squads, will be able to sign up for tickets for themselves and immediate family by submitting a request online or calling 713-522-OWLS. extension 6957.
Tickets can be picked up in advance at the Tudor Fieldhouse box office or on game day at Rice Stadium. Program participants must provide proof of affiliation when picking up their tickets.
"Thanks to the generosity of Gallery Furniture and Jim McIngvale, we are able to honor these individuals throughout the season," Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan said. "We understand the sacrifices they make to protect our great country and its freedom, and we are proud to recognize them on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and honor them all season through this program."
The program will kick off with an on-field ceremony prior to the Owls' home opener against Purdue on Sept. 10 as part of national recognition of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America.
Rice opens its 100th season of college football on Sept. 3 when it travels to Austin to face the Texas Longhorns.
Collegians' season comes to end
The Katy Collegians quickly were ousted from the National Baseball Congress World Series last week in Kansas.
They were eliminated from the consolation bracket by Walker Transmission, out of Colorado, which won 14-2 in seven innings. Walker tallied 20 hits and used a seven-run sixth inning to take control.
The Collegians end their season at 17-8.
They faced the San Diego Waves in their first outing and fell 11-3, sending them to the consolation bracket. Ryan Williams took the loss for Katy, allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
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