Lady Hawks advance to semifinals in the 2017 playoffs


Photo by Sydney Gray

The team huddles on the court before the game. They were discussing plays and strategies.

Volleyball will head to the semifinals of the state championship against the Woodlands on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m.

After defeating Arlington Martin 3-0 on Nov. 11, the Lady Hawks said they are ready to claim their third-straight state championship.

“I am so excited to be going back to state,” senior libero Annie Benbow said. “It’s such an honor. The team works so hard, more than people realize. I know a lot of teams aren’t as lucky as we are and haven’t had the success that we have had, so it’s a great feeling. The best games are ones where both teams are competing really hard, because that always makes the game so much more fun to play in.”

Having claimed the state title in 2004, 2010 and then having a back-to-back victory at state in 2015 and 2016, the volleyball players are anxious about the upcoming game, despite their experience.

“State is an amazing experience,” sophomore outside hitter Nicole Drewnick said. “It’s so fun to be able to go out there and play your hardest with great teammates who support you in all you do.”

Head coach Karin Keeney also has her hopes set high for the weekend competition, after finishing first in  District 5-6A.

“I think this team is unlike any others that I have coached before,” Keeney said. “They’re quiet, but they tend to get the job done. They play because they want to win.”

Conroe the Woodlands finished last season losing to Conroe Oak Ridge after a deep playoff run. Oak Ridge eventually lost to Hebron in the semi-finals.

“This team that we’re about to face is very physical, very big,” Keeney said. “Defensively, I would like to see [our team] give them a good block, funneling the ball to where we want it to go. I would like our passes to be consistent, so we can run an offense. That’s when we’re really deadly, and some tenacious defense, not letting the ball touch the ground.”

As they prepare to face the pressure of a state tournament, Benbow said the team has confidence and trust in one another.

“This team does really good under pressure,” Benbow said. “I think that with this weekend, everything will improve.”