It was looking like Klein and The Woodlands could be the pair of teams to finish out District 15-6A at the top of the standings when all is said and done come late October.
Then College Park flipped the script this past Friday night by knocking off first-place and state-ranked Klein.
College Park, state-ranked in its own right just like Bearkats (and The Woodlands for that matter), enters the second round of district play Tuesday in a three-way tie now with Klein and the Lady Highlanders.
The Lady Cavaliers jumped from No. 22 to No. 8 in the Class 6A TGCA poll after the win. The Woodlands is No. 3 and Klein is No. 9.
Friday’s win was a great feat for the Lady Cavaliers, which narrowly missed the playoffs last year, ending a 11-year run of postseason play.
“These girls, they want to win just as bad as anybody else,” College Park coach Candice Gibson said in an interview with The Courier in July. “We have a strong district, and we know it’s going to be tough. Having that mindset going in, they know how hard they have to work. They know the importance of every game and every point. Losing the tiebreaker obviously has driven them to get better throughout the offseason, and that’s obviously one of our goals — to be one of those top four teams.”
As we head down the stretch, here’s a look at the contenders for a district title and the top 4 spots to earn a playoff berth.
COLLEGE PARK LADY CAVALIERS
Record: 22-3 (7-1 District 15-6A)
Key contributor: Senior setter Annie Cooke. The University of Houston commit has had a stellar year and played a big role in the win over Klein. Cooke had 33 assists, 24 digs and nine kills against the Bearkats.
First round feats: Wins over Klein in four sets and Oak Ridge in five sets.
Looking forward: Big matches include home against The Woodlands (Friday), at Oak Ridge (Oct. 15), home against Klein Oak (Oct. 22) and at Klein (Oct. 25).
Record: 29-5 (7-1)
Key contributor: Junior Annie Antar. According to MaxPreps, Antar is the leader on Klein in kills with 359 and aces with 49. She is a key contributor on defense with 32 blocks, 208 digs and is second on the team in assists with 446.
First round feats: Beating The Woodlands in a sweep and a five-set win over Oak Ridge.
Looking forward: Big matches include at Klein Cain (Oct. 4), at The Woodlands (Oct. 15), home against Klein Collins (Oct. 18), home against Oak Ridge (Oct. 25) and at College Park (Oct. 29).
THE WOODLANDS LADY HIGHLANDERS
Record: 35-3 (7-1)
Key contributor: Senior outside hitter Dylan Maberry. The LSU commit leads the team in kills with 480 and is second in digs with 360. She is third in blocks with 47 and has 27 aces.
First round feats: Swept every opponent with the exception of a three-set loss to Klein.
Looking forward: Big matches include home against Oak Ridge (Tuesday), at College Park (Friday), at Klein Cain (Oct. 11) and home against Klein (Oct. 15).
OAK RIDGE LADY WAR EAGLES
Record: 22-14 (5-3)
Key contributor: Junior setter Piper Boydstun. In key matches (a win over Conroe and a five-set loss to Klein) last week, Boydstun played a big role with 27 assists and 17 digs.
First round feats: Five-set wins over Klein Collins and Klein Cain. Fought College Park and Klein to five sets in losses.
Looking forward: Big matches at The Woodlands (Tuesday), home against Klein Collins (Friday), home against College Park (Oct. 15), home against Klein Cain (Oct. 22) and at Klein (Oct. 25).
BEST OF THE REST
Klein Cain (26-11, 4-4) beat Klein Collins and Klein Oak during the first round.
Klein Collins (24-11, 3-5), a playoff team last year, edged Klein Oak in a five-set match.
Klein Oak (19-12, 2-6) was a tough out for Klein Collins as well as College Park and Oak Ridge, who both won in four sets.