Katy tops Taylor, stays in second in tight district race

By Tyler Tyre, Times Sports Editor
Posted 9/28/21

“This is a really special team,” Lee said. “We all have our own strengths and that’s what makes us so good is that we are all good things individually. Our biggest strength is that no one person carries the whole team, we have different people who do different things and that’s what sets us apart.”

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Katy tops Taylor, stays in second in tight district race

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Izzy Denton is well aware what each game in district means.

The senior has been through the grind of District 19-6A play and knows what it takes to be successful, along with her fellow seniors at Katy.

The Tigers won two straight to start District 19-6A play before dropping a match to Tompkins, but since then Katy bounced right back, winning three straight heading into Tuesdays match with Taylor.

“It’s all preparation,” Denton said. “We had to go back to the scouting report, study and know what we are doing there and know every team’s go to’s. When you know what shots they like to take at different points or if they like to dump it that helps you a lot.”

Katy (21-14, 4-1) continued their hot streak as they swept Taylor (9-23, 1-5) at the Taylor gym: 25-22, 25-13, 25-15.

“After that loss to Tompkins, we really started focusing on pushing and finishing sets faster than before,” said senior outside hitter Chandler Lee. “That’s one thing that we’ve been working on because we want to finish out sets and matches and that’s tour main goal. Today it was just like ‘push to 25 guys,’ and it started off a bit slow but then we were able to push through.

Taylor jumped out to a big early lead in the first set, as the Mustangs built a 15-8 lead, the Tigers had called a timeout earlier in the set and used their second at that point. They came out of that timeout settled and went on to win the set 25-22.

“I felt like we were playing timid at first,” Lee said. “But we realized, we can beat this team, then we started putting the puzzle pieces together and we started playing volleyball the way we knew we could.”

Katy head coach Karen Paxton used the timeout to move different players around and wanted to give Taylor a different look offensively. She was impressed with the way the Tigers bounced back and showed consistency.

“Anyone at any given time on our team can go in and elevate our level of play,” Paxton said. “I think that speaks volumes on how hard they’re working and how much they really have bought into the system. I’m just proud of the fact that I can do that and that they believe in themselves and have the confidence to go in and do a good job.”

From there, Katy ran away with the match, easily winning the second set and holding off a late run from Taylor in the third set to complete the sweep.

“We did a really good job of getting out of serve receive quickly today,” Denton said. “That’s been a big goal since the beginning of preseason for us. I feel like also capitalized on certain rotations and even though we got caught a few times because of (Gracie Gibbens) great serves, we were able to capitalize on it and get points quickly.”

Katy currently sits second in district behind Tompkins, but only one game back of the Falcons for the top spot. The team knows it will need to continue its strong play if it wants to remain a top two seed and make a push for the district title.

“This is a really special team,” Lee said. “We all have our own strengths and that’s what makes us so good is that we are all good things individually. Our biggest strength is that no one person carries the whole team, we have different people who do different things and that’s what sets us apart.”

The Tigers will take on Morton Ranch Friday before beginning a tough stretch of their second half of district schedule, facing all four other teams that are in playoff contention back-to-back.

But the team knows they will be up to the challenge.

“We played some really tough tournaments and preseason and we lost several in a row and had to regroup,” Paxton said. “We’ve played some great defensive teams and some great offensive teams and there’s really a blending of that in our district. I think we’re going to have to put it all together at the right time but I know that we can.”

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