Memorial/West Houston roundup: Falcons have big dreams
The past few seasons have been rough for the Kinkaid girls volleyball program.
But the Falcons are handing the reins over to a young, up-and-coming coach who plans to return Kinkaid to relevance in the Southwest Preparatory Conference.
Jennifer Peyton, 23, served on the staff of former head coach Debbie Sokol, as a varsity assistant two years ago and as the junior varsity coach last season. Despite her age, she's primed for the challenge.
"It's pretty exciting for me," Peyton said. "We have 11 returning players off last year's team. We should have the experience to make it back to Division I (in the SPC)."
Last season, Kinkaid struggled to a 9-20 mark, although the Falcons finished on a positive note, placing third in Division II.
"We took Austin St. Andrew's, the eventual SPC champion, to five sets and lost," Peyton said. "We lost a lot of close games. Eventually, we're going to start winning them."
Although a first-time head coach, Peyton can relate to her players. She's a 2006 St. Agnes graduate and starred at outside hitter for the Tigers.
"I went to a school with the same culture as Kinkaid," Peyton said. "St. Agnes had very rigorous academic standards, too. I'll do everything I can to ensure our players are successful on the volleyball court and in the classroom."
In addition, Peyton played the sport of volleyball at the highest level, competing collegiately as a libero at Southern Mississippi and the University of Houston.
Peyton considers Kinkaid one of the favorites in the SPC's South Zone. The Falcons welcome back five seniors, include 6-foot-3 all-conference middle blocker Caroline Montgomery, outside hitter Mia Fredricks and setter Alexis Roberts.
"This has the potential to be a special season," Peyton said.
Peyton expects as many as 60 girls to show up for tryouts next week. Kinkaid will open the preseason at Fort Bend Baptist at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.
TSRN picks up Strake Jesuit sports events
Strake Jesuit has partnered with the Texas Sports Radio Network (TSRN) to broadcast the school's athletic events on the Internet. Parents, alumni and fans will be able to watch the Crusaders' football, basketball, soccer and baseball games.
Strake Jesuit football games will be broadcast by TSRN, including the season opener against St. Thomas at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at Tully Stadium. In addition, two other sports events will be broadcast each week, with lacrosse possibly being added to the schedule.
All games can be accessed on TSRN's website, with each broadcast linked from the school's website or through e-mails sent in advance.
Some Crusaders games may be selected for live radio broadcasts on stations that have been contracted with TSRN. Some games may be featured as video webcasts and can be accessed on TSRN's website for a nominal fee or as part of the network's archives.
"This is a win-win for the school and our families," said Bill McDonald, Strake Jesuit's athletic director and head soccer coach. "They'll be able to watch our student-athletes throughout the year. It keeps them close to the action."
Houston Christian athletes honored
Several Houston Christian athletes earned recognition from the National Christian School Athletic Association's annual All-American and Super Regional teams for the winter and spring seasons.
The Mustangs had a pair of NCSAA All-Americans in baseball — recent graduates Konrad Koenig and Kirby Holt.
Koenig, a pitcher/second baseman, made the NCSAA's first team after winning a team-high six games on the mound with a 1.76 earned run average. As a senior, he hit .358 with 18 runs scored and 17 RBI. He also made the first team from TAPPS District 3-5A and was listed on the TAPPS Class 5A's all-state second team.
Holt, a catcher, was a second-team All-American. He had a huge senior year at the plate. Holt's .528 average set a school record and he added two homers, a team-high 42 RBI and 32 runs. Holt was a first-team all-district and all-state pick.
Meanwhile, junior shortstop Jonathan Bravo was named to NCSAA's Super Regional Team after hitting .423 with 15 doubles, three homers and 45 runs. He was first-team all-district and honorable mention all-state.
Two Houston Christian girls basketball players were recognized by NCSAA. Senior forward Danielle Milton and junior post Morgann Davis were named to the NCSAA Super Regional Teams.
Milton averaged 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Mustangs, while Davis delivered 8.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. They both earned first-team all-district and honorable mention all-state accolades.
Reid comes to front
Last season, St. Pius senior Briana Reid often took a back seat to her highly touted teammate, Danielle Parks.
Reid, a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, didn't mind one bit, as Parks powered a talented Panthers squad to the TAPPS District 3-5A title - the program's first league title since 1980s - and a 27-2 record.
"Danielle is one of my best friends," Reid said. "There was no jealousy whatsoever. Who wouldn't want to be teammates with a player like her?"
Parks, a 6-0 middle blocker, is long gone, now on a basketball scholarship at the University of Houston. St. Pius also graduated standouts such as middle blocker Megan Briggs and setter Ashley Smith. All three of them are former all-staters.
"We've got some big shoes to fill, no doubt," Reid said. "I'm being asked to be a leader. That's what I'll try to do."
Reid is a respected player in her own right. She's a rare four-year starter. Reid also is a three-time, all-state selection, earning honorable mention as a freshman and second-team status the past two seasons.
While Reid isn't the tallest girl on the floor, she is often the most athletic. She averaged 13 kills per match and tallied a season-best 24 kills in a victory over rival St. Agnes.
"That's probably the best I've ever played," said Reid, alluding to the win over the Tigers. "That was fun."
In fact, Reid, a southwest Houston resident, can't remember a time when the sport wasn't enjoyable.
"It's hard to explain, but I just love volleyball. I live, eat, breathe it," Reid said. "I love being in the gym. I love putting up the net. I love going to practice every day. I never get tired of it."
Remarkably, Reid trains 11 months out of the year, taking off only a few weeks between the club and high school seasons. Last month, she returned from Atlanta, Ga., after playing for the Texas Tornados at the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships.
Local Advertising by PaperG