Varsity volleyball loses district opener to Lake Travis

Harshita Avirneni and Natalie Brink

The varsity volleyball team lost their district opener against Lake Travis on Friday. Their current record is 29-5.

“So far, our season record is better coming into district than last year, but it still is a tough district,” head coach Melissa Southall said. “We had a lot of success early on in our tournaments, and that’s good. But once you begin district, you start with a clean slate.”

Currently, the girls varsity volleyball team has more wins than any other high school in 6A Region IV District 25. Lake Travis has the second most wins with 20 wins and 10 losses.

“For district, I feel like our biggest opponent is going to be Westlake,” Southall said. “They have a lot of talent on their varsity team, and a lot of their players from last year are returning. And in 6A, for the state in general, I feel like San Antonio Reagan will be a big competitor for us. We could end up facing them; who knows?”

To make it in district, the team is preparing to run a faster offense. They’re also working on helping the three sophomores on the team deal with mistakes that younger players tend to make.

“We have a lot of sophomores, newcomers to varsity,” Southall said. “But we have a really strong senior leadership too.”

Team captain, senior and outside hitter Ryan Palmieri said she is confident about this season and believes that it is all coming together. Natalie Duffield and Simone Priebe are also team captains along with Palmieri.

“My favorite part about being team captain is that I’m the one that gets everyone excited and hyped about a game,” Palmieri said. “A captain has to always be upbeat and pull everybody together and say, ‘okay guys, let’s get this done and win the game.’”

This season, the team has faced various obstacles which includes playing Cedar Park and Bowie and having injuries along the way with sophomore middle Annie Staudthaus being out during the Bowie game.

“We beat Bowie three sets,” Southall said. “Cedar Park was fun because we had seen them two times prior in tournaments and so hosting them here, it is always a fun rivalry. And those were intense sets, we won in three but in the third set we were down 17-20 and the girls fought back and ended up winning so it was an exciting match.”

Southall said that the girls are super motivated to win, and they have a fun time winning. She added how their overall demeanor and how they interact with one another is what makes them so fun to coach.

“We have really great chemistry, and we all are best friends, which helps a lot on and off the court,” sophomore setter Delaney Dilfer said. “I’m looking forward to building stronger relationships.”