Practice begins next week for the defending District 21-6A champion Kingwood Lady Mustangs volleyball team. Ashley Earhart leads the charges as she begins her 18th season at Kingwood and 12th as head coach.
She has a solid group returning and must be considered heavy favorites to repeat in 2017 after posting a 12-2 district record last season to capture their first league title since 2013 and 25th since 1987. The next step is to get back to the region tournament, where the Lady Mustangs last appeared in 2013 and earned a region title - last accomplished in 2004.
But first things first. Kingwood looks to build on an eventful summer that saw players from the current team compete in and win one USA Volleyball national championship and play for another.
Middle blocker Kayla Janikula, last season’s 21-6A Offensive MVP, led Kingwood in kills and then helped her Houston Juniors Elite club team win the 17 USA Division national championship in Minneapolis over the summer.
She’s hoping to play a key role in Kingwood’s quest for its first state title.
But the incoming senior will have plenty of help along the way. First team all-district standout Camden Gray joins her at the net as a leader in a strong defense that includes OH/DS Tannah Svihovec, setter Courtney Bocock and Maddy Salazar, last season’s Newcomer of the Year in 21-6A.
Emma Brinsden also looks to make an impact this season after playing a role this summer in her club team, The Woodlands Revolution, reaching the national championship match in the 16 American Division, along with Kingwood teammates Mollie Holmes, Sydney Rambo and Camryn Wisenbaker.
Breanna Burrell is yet another talented athlete who will be counted on heavily as she steps up to the net in a key role for the Lady Mustangs, along with Meredith Morgan and Peyton Shamp.
Kingwood opens the 2017 season at Cy-Fair Aug. 8. And after competing in the Pearland Tournament that weekend, the Lady Mustangs open the 2017 home schedule with the Kingwood Varsity Tournament, Aug. 17 and 19.
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