By Dr. David Davis
Friendswood lost in the Class 5A Region III finals a year ago to Kingwood Park. Despite the loss, Friendswood head coach Sarah Paulk knew she had a young team and believed they would challenge again this year.
This is the deepest playoff run for Friendswood since the last time they were in 5A back in 2013, when Friendswood made it to the state semifinals.
“This group of seniors is my first class when I came here, and … to get Friendswood back with that group is pretty special,” Friendswood head coach Sarah Paulk said. “We’ve talked about it since they got here, but to actually do it and get the win and get there is pretty awesome.”
The Lady Mustangs went a perfect 14-0 in district this season and they began their journey through the playoffs with their next goal to win the 5A Region III tournament.
The last step to state was getting past the Manvel Lady Mavericks who had already beaten Friendswood two previous matches this year.
Would third time be a charm? Could Friendswood break the curse and win on the third try?
Last year’s Region III runners-up simply would not be denied this time around as the Lady Mustangs defeated No. 1 Class 5A area-ranked Manvel 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24 to make their reservation at the 5A state volleyball tournament at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
The win snapped a 25-match winning streak by Manvel (42-7).
The Lady Mustangs will be making their 10th appearance at the state tournament in Garland. Also qualifying for the state tournament are Canyon Randall (42-3), Lucas Lovejoy and San Antonio Alamo Heights (35-9).
Friendswood (34-17) will face Lucas Lovejoy (46-5) in the state semifinal contest at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22.
Friendswood won the 1994 state championship with a 15-9, 15-12 victory over Austin McCallum.
Jr. Celia Howes was the MVP of the tournament for Friendswood. Jr. Lauri Leahy and Sr. Molly Gorkiewicz were named to the All-Tournament team for the Lady Mustangs.
The Lady Mustangs have been to the state volleyball tournament in 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 20012, 1013, and now 2019.
The 5A state finals will be on Saturday, November 23 at 3:00 p.m. at the same location.