CAPTION: The Burnet Lady Dawgs celebrate winning the Little River Academy tournament, which was a team goal during the 2023 season. Courtesy photo
The Burnet High School volleyball team is the Little River Academy Tournament champions after winning five consecutive matches Aug. 24 and 26.
The Lady Dawgs (13-7) beat Little River Academy 25-10, 25-11; Chilton 25-4, 25-5; Thrall 25-22, 29-30, 15-13; District 19-4A rival Georgetown Gateway 25-23, 17-25, 15-13; and Little River Academy 25-13, 26-24.
Head coach Crystal Shipley said the Lady Dawgs’ greatness goes back to a pledge they’ve made to each other.
“What makes this team great is their commitment to get better after every match,” she said. “They commit to helping each other get better. They celebrate each other and definitely put we before me. We have had to adjust due to injuries and improve our depth chart. This team is noticed for their defense most and how they don’t give up.”
Those traits were needed when they faced Thrall, which beat Burnet a week earlier, and against Gateway, which is expected to challenge Burnet for the district title.
“This was the toughest team we faced in the tournament,” Shipley said of Gateway. “They are good with a lot of returners. It will be a tight match every time we play them.”
Going into the tournament Burnet had lost three consecutive matches. Shipley said she had a heart to heart with her players and asked some tough questions.
“We met and had a real conversation about what they really wanted out of this season,” she said. “We lost some games in the Bay City tournament that we shouldn’t have. We didn’t adjust, and we made too many errors. We revisited the goal board and talked about what it takes to accomplish those goals. Everyone was all in on what that will take. The San Antonio Davenport loss (19-25, 13-25, 15-25 Aug. 22) was tough, but we played them well. Losses to great teams (Davenport is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A) can be a great, eye-opening experience because it shows our vulnerabilities, so we can focus on those.”
Overall, Shipley is pleased by the progress her team has made as they are finishing up the first month of the season.
“We have had a few disappointments already, but we have worked through them and will continue to use those to push us,” she said. “On the flip side, this team has come together and played some great volleyball. Winning a tournament was on the goal board, and they did that.”
Burnet visits Taylor Tuesday, Aug. 29, with the subvarsities playing at 5 p.m. and the varsities follow at 6 p.m.
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