Wildcat volleyball clawing way to success


Grace Erskine

Lady wildcat serves the ball at Plano gymnasium

Isis Kazadi, Opinion Editor


The Lady Wildcats conquered Rockwall Heath in a riveting five set away game to start the season, striking Heath with violent attacks, rock solid defense and an undying urge to win.
The match went five long, hard sets that required the utmost of teamwork to win.
“[The game] really helped us come together as a team and build our chemistry,” Sophie Robinson, junior middle hitter said.
The first set was fought hard with hustle from all players, but the Lady Wildcats came up short ending the score at 25-23.
However, the team refused to give up and brought that same energy into the next set. Despite their efforts, the second set was also dropped 25-21.
Between the endless taunting of the Rockwall Heath student section, and the two set lead Heath had, things began to look bleak for the team.
Rather than roll over and let Heath take the sweep though, the Lady Wildcats came back even harder.
“We wanted more than anything to get revenge for last year,” Faith Panhans senior, starting setter, and Texas A&M at Corpus Christi commit said.
Revenge is definitely what the team took. The girls began to up the ante from the service line and put in some serious work both offensively and defensively, finally coming away with a win of 25-16 in the third set.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “I was just worried about what was going on for our side of the net,” head coach Terri Minnis said. “We had a couple of iffy calls I didn’t even see because I was totally sucked into our play.”
She’s not the only one who got sucked in to the game as the Wildcats started their comeback. The players on the bench were jumping and hollering, celebrating any and every point the team earned.
Even the once loud and taunting student section of Rockwall Heath grew quiet as the Lady Wildcats began to pick up their intensity and style of play.
However, Heath’s team is full of great competitors and refused to be swatted off the court without attacking balls viciously, as seen by the first two sets.
This made for a trying and tiresome game ending the fourth set in 25-20 with a well deserved Wildcat win.
As the fifth set began, the players prepared for battle. This was a game to 15 instead of 25, so all points become harder to earn and carry more weight.
“Against Heath we haven’t really had the best record,” Robinson said. “I wanted that win, I know we all did.”
The fifth set began not just with a spark, but with a fire. Both teams scrapped for points and greedily grabbed the ones available. By the time Plano reached point 15 and Heath reached point 14, things were looking a little too close for comfort.
With a final attack of the ball, the Lady Wildcats walked away with a 16-14 win in the fifth set.
The match was a great season opener to a challenging upcoming season. Almost every match in district is destined to be a nail-biter filled with long rallies according to Minnis.
“I am worried about every team in district,” Minnis said. “Fighting through the rough and tough of hard matches as well as long nights is going to be the best preparation for later on in the season and, hopefully, going into playoffs.”
Robinson feels the same way about the future of her team and is excited for the results in the rest of the year.
“I am excited about this team and everyone on it. I think we could go really far in playoffs this year,” Robison said. “Our chemistry is good, and we play with a lot of love.”
The girls have pushed themselves to their absolute limit and refusing to give up on any play, even when it results in a loss as devastating as the one at home against Plano West on Sept. 11. The Wildcats battled four sets before Plano Wolves took the match.
Another disappointing match occurred on Sept. 13 at home with a loss against McKinney Boyd.
The game stayed close the entire time, each team battling for points. The first match ended with the Wildcats on top at 25-21. However, Boyd took the next three matches, leaving the Lady Wildcats varsity team at 1-3 to end the game and 1-2 in district.