Lady Elks finish third at Granbury
Last season, Birdville ended Burleson’s season with a sweep in the second round of the playoffs.
The loss haunted the Lady Elks over the off-season.
Friday and Saturday, Burleson was able to erase some of the pain from the loss as the Lady Elks sweep Birdville twice at the Granbury Tournament.
The Lady Elks topped the Lady Hawks, 25-21, 25-18 in pool play Friday then defeated Birdville again, 25-20, 25-18, to the take third place in the Gold Division.
Burleson coach D’Anna Newton said that when she saw her team might have a chance to play Birdville she saw it as a learning tool and a great chance for redemption.
In the game Friday, the Lady Elks served Birdville, out of the gym, according to Newton.
“We played amazing the first time we played them,” Newton said. “Then, the second time we played them, I thought it was going to be a more back-and-forth type of a game but again we just rose up and played at another level.”
That’s the kind of play Newton wants to see from her team each time they go out.
“We are going to have to play at that level if we want to get to that next level in the post-season,” Newton said.
Junior outside hitter Emily Rich moved closer to repeating her feat from last season of garnering tournament honors in all three tournaments she played Rich gained all-tournament honors at Granbury.
“She is an amazing player and an amazing teammate,” Newton said. “She was deserving of the award.”
Junior middle blocker Emily White drew praise from Newton for her play during the tournament.
“She had a great tournament,” Newton said. “She played a huge role for us blocking. When teams were shutting down our outside hitters she came up big.”
The problem for the Lady Elks was their consistency of play during the tournament.
Burleson, which was coming off winning the Bev Ball Classic in Abilene, struggled a bit in Granbury, losing three times.
“We just aren’t playing consistently right now,” Newton said. “I call it the roller coaster effect. It’s just up-and-down and up-and-down for us. That’s just something we have to work on. That’s the whole point of playing preseason games.”
Newton postulated that the rigors of playing three consecutive days might have gotten to her team a bit. Each day the team left Burleson at 6:30 in the morning and didn’t return until 8 or 9 that night.
“We were just tired at times,” Newton said.
We played amazing against Birdville. But then we just take little mental timeouts. Mental toughness is something we have been stressing.
In pool play last Thursday, Burleson opened with a 25-16, 25-20 victory over Soccoro Eastlake. The Lady Elks followed that up with losses to eventual Gold Division champion Prestonwood Christian, 25-21, 17-25, 25-19 and eventual Silver Division champion Stephenville, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23. Burleson opened the season with a sweep at Stephenville.
The Lady Elks romped through pool play last Friday beating Abilene Cooper, 25-14, 25-18; Birdville and Lewisville, 25-21, 25-18.
In bracket play last Saturday, Burleson started things off with a 25-16, 25-18 win over Amarillo Tascosa. In the semifinals, Prestonwood Christian topped the Lady Elks, 25-21, 25-20
Burleson bounced back sweeping Birdville for third place.
“I thought we did well considering the competition we faced,” Newton said. “It was three days full of volleyball. I was impressed with their gameplay even though we dropped three games. I think it was a good learning experience for them.”
Senior outside hitter Ellie Strebeck was honored Monday as the MaxPreps/AVCA Texas Player of Week. In eight games, Strebeck tallied 68 kills, 12 blocks, nine aces and averaged 8.5 kills.
“It’s a great award,” Newton said. “I think she deserved it and we are thrilled to death she received it. She a constant threat for us on the outside and she great serve.”
Tuesday night, Burleson traveled to Fort Worth Arlington Heights and swept the Lady Yellow Jackets, 25-14, 25-18, 25-6.
“It was a good team effort,” Newton said. “Everyone got touches and looked good.”
The Lady Elks open play Friday at the Arlington Showcase at Arlington Lamar. Friday, Burleson plays South Grand Prairie at 9 a.m. and Lamar at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Lady Elks face McKinney North at 9 a.m. and Red Oak at 3 p.m.
Burleson plays at Red Oak Tuesday and plays at Joshua Sept. 3.