“Many of the seniors this year have been with me for several year,” said Katy head coach Karen Paxton. “Since day one they bought into what it takes to represent tradition and culture in this program. Every single day they tried to live by that."
HUNTSVILLE — The last two classes of Katy seniors have laid the foundation for a program to be successful for years to come.
The Tigers had not been to a regional tournament since 1993 going into last year, but now have been to two regional finals in a row.
“Many of the seniors this year have been with me for several year,” said Katy head coach Karen Paxton. “Since day one they bought into what it takes to represent tradition and culture in this program. Every single day they tried to live by that. It showed in how the senior leadership carried over from last year to this year. It’s the reason we got back to back in the regional final.”
The Tigers season came to an end on Saturday in the Class 6A Region III Final in a four set loss to Ridge Point 20-25, 22-25, 25-23, 18-25 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.
Katy had battled its way back to the regional final, but the Tigers couldn’t stop a Ridge Point team that will be making its third trip to the state tournament in four years.
“In the past we weren’t really able to get past the third round,” said Maddie Waak, a senior. “It felt good to get back here and do it two years in a row, it shows it wasn’t a fluke last year and shows that we really did make an impact.”
Katy battled in the first set and tied it at 15, but Ridge Point pulled away to gain the advantage. Katy came out fast in the second set and held a 7-4 lead, but again Ridge Point came back. Katy got within one point halfway through the set and two points late, but Ridge Point called timeouts both times and stopped the Tigers momentum before closing out the set.
Katy rebounded in the third set, shrugging off Ridge Point making a hot start and taking a lead that the Tigers wouldn’t relinquish the entire set.
“We had a lot of new faces and holes to fill this year,” Paxton said. “Obviously, there was a lot of expectations and pressure to get back here, but I don’t think anyone believed in themselves and that they could get here than this group. Especially this season.”
The Tigers ran out of gas in the fourth set and even even though the team toughed out a number of points, Ridge Point was able to secure the win.
Paxton was proud of the Tigers efforts and what they were able to accomplish this season, and Waak was happy that this senior class could help lay the foundation for the future of the program.
“It was really special,” Waak said. “It’s my senior year and it sucks that this is my last high school match but we put in the work and it’s a great foundation for next years team as well.”
The Tigers will take their time to celebrate their accomplishments this season, Paxton and the underclassman will get back to work very quickly.
“Were going to maintain and build the confidence with those younger players,” Paxton said. “It’s all about showing them how big of a part of this they were and showing we believe in them.”
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