Monday , 18 June 2018

Joe Arriola: Lady Broncs Ready to Tear Down Skyline Again

It’s playoff time.

Late in October, the focus shifts to the Texas high school football playoff scenarios as area teams make a final push for playoff spots and postseason positioning. But before the postseason begins on the gridiron, volleyball courts all over DFW are set to host elimination bi-district matches next Monday and Tuesday.

If the McKinney North football team beats Rockwall this Friday night the city of McKinney will have two football programs in the UIL playoffs. When it comes to volleyball in McKinney, there’s only one program left standing – McKinney Boyd.

MHS and North wrapped up their regular season runs with losses on Tuesday night. Boyd, meanwhile, swept Naaman Forest to close out the district season and is now scheduled for a warm-up game versus Lovejoy on Friday before the playoffs begin next week.

The Lady Broncos blasted their way through the regular season with an impressive 38-3 record overall and a perfect 14-0 mark in District 10-5A. Currently, Boyd is the No. 32 team in the country according to ESPN HS and also the No. 5 volleyball program in Texas Class 5A.

Last fall, the Lady Broncs’ kicked off their playoff run with a bi-district game versus Dallas Skyline. I made the trip out to Wylie for that opening round match and, as I recall, it barely lasted over an hour with Boyd cruising to a three-game sweep (25-10, 25-17, 25-12). (See video at the bottom of the page for higlights). Like last season, Boyd is entering these playoffs after claiming the District 10-5A title. Waiting for them in the opening round of the postseason, once again, is Dallas Skyline.

One would think that a nationally ranked, district title winning program like Boyd would look straight past a weak opponent like Skyline and well into the deeper rounds of the volleyball playoffs. Fortunately, the Lady Broncos haven’t let their recent success go to their heads and rather than expecting a repeat performance versus the Lady Raiders, they plan on working hard in practice to prepare for whatever Skyline has to offer this season.

After last year’s bi-district victory, I was able to interview then sophomore Megan Mollett, who had an incredible night serving, including 12 aces in the first match to lead Boyd to a 25-12 win. As the Lady Broncos prepare for a rematch with the Lady Raiders, I decided to catch up with Mollett once again and see what she think about next week’s playoff game.

“I’m excited to play Skyline,” she said. “Even though we defeated them last season, I’m excited to go against them again. Every team makes it to the playoffs for a reason so I’m ready to see what they have to offer.”

Earlier in the season, I wrote a column about how team chemistry is perhaps the secret weapon to the success of McKinney Boyd volleyball. With the playoffs looming and shot at the state tournament in the back of their minds, I would probably say that the Lady Broncos focus is one of their biggest assets at this point.

In the past, I’ve watched really solid high school sports teams simply go through the motions when facing a lesser opponent, but I’ve never got that feeling when I watch Boyd volleyball. I fully expect the Lady Broncos to be firing on all cylinders next week and put on a performance that sets the tone for a run at the state tournament.

“The main goal for the playoffs this year is to take one game at a time,” Mollett said. “We want to give our all in all to succeed to the state tournament but to get there we need to play hard in each game previous to that.”

McKinney Boyd’s 2010 playoff run ended in the Regional Semi-Finals last season in a loss to The Woodlands. Since then, the Lady Broncos have been preparing for a shot at redemption and with the regular season in the books, they’re ready for the challenge.

“Each practice this season, every girl has put forth all their effort to get the team better and ready for playoffs and state,” Mollett said.

At my core, I’m a football guy. It’s why I got into sports writing in the first place. But there’s nothing I love more than watching a team, in any sport, with the chemistry, dedication, and focus that the Lady Broncos volleyball team is displaying this year. I can’t wait to watch these girls make noise in the postseason and I hope I get to cover their postseason run all the way the state.

Good luck, Lady Broncos.

-Joe Arriola,

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