Volleyball: Eagles ready to fly again
Second Baptist was a dominant force in volleyball, but the Eagles have been usurped lately.
The balance of power has shifted to Second Baptist's TAPPS District 4-4A rival Tomball Concordia Lutheran, which has claimed back-to-back TAPPS Class 4A state titles.
Second Baptist head coach Perry Robinson has led the Eagles to the postseason the past three seasons, although the Eagles haven't made the TAPPS Class 4A State Tournament during his tenure. But Robinson is convinced his program can regain its elite status.
"We have a lot of kids back and picked up one or two who could really help us," Robinson said. "I can honestly say we have the talent to be a state tournament team."
At the very least, Second Baptist should improve on its 17-13 mark and fourth-place league finish from a year ago.
Robinson's enthusiasm is fueled by the arrival of senior Samantha Strother on campus. Strother, a 6-foot outside hitter, transferred from Fort Bend Travis and gives Second Baptist another offensive weapon.
"Samantha is an awesome player," Robinson said. "We're a more powerful team when she's on the court."
Strother joins a strong cast of returning players who are poised for a breakthrough.
Emily Walker, a 5-11 junior, is back at middle blocker after earning honorable mention all-state last season. Walker, a three-year starter, led the Eagles in kills and blocks last year.
"Emily is really starting to come into her own as a player, which is exciting to see," Robinson said. "Emily's a strong hitter and blocker. She continues to improve her game every season."
Two youngsters, sophomores Kelsey Chambers and Alexis Locascio, have made tremendous strides. Chambers is a 5-10 middle blocker/right side hitter, while Locascio is a 5-9 outside hitter/right side hitter.
"Kelsey has come a long way. I expect her to be among our team leaders in kills and blocks," Robinson said. "Alexis has made great progress, too. She's probably a little better on the left side, but we plan to play her all over."
Kate Krhovjak, a 5-7 junior, is a veteran who will start at outside or right side hitter.
"Kate has been on the varsity for three years," Robinson said. "She's one who makes things happen."
Savannah Wilkinson, a 5-7 junior, returns at setter and is passing the ball better than ever. Wilkinson was honorable mention all-district pick last season.
"Savannah attended some setter camps and is more confident than ever," Robinson said. "She's taken ownership of the team. She's the one running the show."
Other key players include Megan Rogers and Sara Bresser, 5-3 seniors who will see action at libero and defensive specialist. Bresser has bounced back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury from soccer.
Robinson said several other players could make the varsity roster, enhancing Second Baptist's depth. However, he's comfortable with the main rotation and feels the Eagles, gunning for their first state title since 2007, will be a factor.
"It's a matter of being focused and playing to our potential," Robinson said. "If we do, this could be the best Second Baptist team we've had in a few years."
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