Volleyball: Seven Lakes set for tough battle
After sending middle blocker Jill Ivy to Stephen F. Austin and outside/right-side hitter Nicole Bardaji to Baylor, the Seven Lakes Lady Spartans will be without two of the most prolific players in their short history.
Further complicating matters, they lost OH Amanda Grimes to an offseason knee injury, which only recently was repaired, taking away the player expected to lead the team's offense this season.
That leaves returning players Emma Nady and Kiayna O'Neal, who haven't had to rack up kills in the past, and a couple of promising sophomores to carry the load.
"It'll be a learning process offensively for us," Seven Lakes coach Farah Holder said. "My kids are young offensively.
"But Kiayna will take some of that pressure. She's doing a great job."
The Lady Spartans will need her to be good right away when they face Pearland in the second week of the season. Just like them, the Lady Oilers are coming off a third-round playoff appearance.
ABOUT THE GAME
• Matchup: Seven Lakes vs. Pearland
• When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16
• Where: Pearland High School
• What's at stake: The two teams met at the Pearland Volleyball Classic last season, with the Lady Spartans taking a 25-14, 20-25, 15-14 victory. That means the Lady Oilers will be looking to even their series, even as the Lady Spartans focus on honing their offense for district.
• Seven Lakes players to watch: MB Kiayna O'Neal, DS Morgan McKellar, L Taylor Swillo, OH Beth Eierhaus
• Pearland players to watch: OH Kat Evans, OH/S Waverly Sadler, MB Autumn Taylor
• Seven Lakes: It's a new season and everybody's different, including Seven Lakes, and that has Holder feeling some people may be overlooking her squad despite coming off a district championship. … Eierhuas, who's up from the junior varsity squad, is a promising prospect, but she still has to prove she can handle the load at the varsity level. "Although she got a ton of reps and was the go-to player on JV it's a different ballgame when you're on varsity," Holder said. … Holder said Ivy visited with players at the team's scrimmage Aug. 6 at home, perhaps trying to rally them for the challenge ahead.
• Pearland: After falling to Seven Lakes in their tournament, the Lady Oilers suffered a second setback to Seven Lakes in non-district play Sept. 3 last year, losing in three sets at home. Evans led the Lady Oilers with 12 kills in that defeat. … They were up and down in district but they ended the season strong with wins over Clements and Pasadena Memorial in the playoffs.
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