Seven Lakes clinches 19-6A volleyball championship
The Seven Lakes volleyball team will finish atop District 19-6A for the third consecutive season. This time, the Spartans will not have to share it.
Seven Lakes swept Katy Taylor 25-14, 25-13, 25-16 on Oct. 16 to officially lock up the championship, its second outright title in three years. Last year, the Spartans tied Tompkins for first place but still gained the No. 1 seed for the playoffs, later reaching their first state tournament.
The Spartans concluded the regular season Oct. 19 against Mayde Creek. Next is the first step toward fifth consecutive regional tournament appearance.
Seven Lakes was 10-1 in 19-6A and 25-13 overall after its victory against Taylor, during which Natalie Winter led with 12 kills, 11 digs and three aces, all team highs. Morgan Janda set 23 assists and added seven kills.
Ally Batenhorst collected nine kills, three aces and three blocks in the win, with Ava Underwood adding 10 digs and Lauren Ross two blocks.
Winter has continued to be one of the Spartans’ best all-around contributors this season, leading the team with 386 kills (3.5 per set) and 61 aces while adding 371 digs (3.4 per set) to rank a close second to Underwood (414) and Lexi Stumbough (372). Winter has already surpassed Seven Lakes’ single-season record of 58 aces and is the career leader in aces (171) and digs (1,458). The senior also has only 34 errors in 470 serve-receive attempts.
The Spartans can be difficult to defend with Batenhorst (297 kills, 4.2 per set), Stumbough (292, 2.6) and Gabrielle Collins (106, 1.0) all over 100 kills. Janda, the top setter with 619 assists (9.1), picks her spots with 91 kills, hitting a team-high .368.
Collins leads the net defense with 124 blocks (1.1), with Stumbough (91), Batenhorst (73) and Anna Smith (64) among the leaders.
Underwood, a freshman, has been effective defensively with a team-best 414 digs (3.7), with Stumbough, Winter and Janda averaging between 3.3 and 3.5 digs per set. Rebecca Chang and Casey Batenhorst, who also has 407 assists (6.9), are among the Spartans with more than 100 digs.
Katy and Cinco Ranch clinched playoff spots the same night Seven Lakes won district. The Tigers and Cougars were set to play Oct. 19 with a chance to decide the No. 2 seed. Katy swept the first meeting.
Katy outlasted Tompkins 25-17, 25-22, 15-25, 23-25, 15-11. The Falcons received 13 kills and 15 digs from Moyra Zulaica, 13 kills, two aces and 11 digs from Paris Herrman, 21 digs from Crispin Adams and nine blocks from Mimi Heholt in the match, closing in on a playoff spot despite the loss.