Clear Brook should vie for playoff berth
If there’s something Clear Brook head coach Meredith Thompson has learned in her many years battling fellow Clear Creek ISD volleyball brethren, it’s that you can’t be too experienced.
Or too talented. Or too deep. Or too tall.
You get the picture.
So when the dust settles at the end of the District 24-6A campaign this fall, Thompson doesn’t want to be the odd man out for the four playoff berths in a seven-team district.
In many other districts, Thompson’s Lady Wolverines would be a shoo-in for a playoff spot. Not so in 24-6A.
“That’s like the worst feeling ever, isn’t it?” she jokingly said. “If four (Clear Creek ISD schools) make the playoffs, and I think they will, you don’t want to be the one that’s left out.
“But I feel really good about our team. I think we’re pretty well-rounded. I have options, and I just need to figure out how to put it all together.”
The Lady Wolverines return star power up front in junior Kailin Newsome, senior middle blocker Kennedy Crutchfield and middle blocker/outside hitter Bella Lockwood. Jaylin Aguirre adds strength at the libero position.
Kayleigh Shultz is a candidate at the setting position while 6-foot Mayce Barker could provide additional hitting on the right side.
“We’re still relatively young,” Thompson said. “We only have two seniors, and the team is mostly juniors.
“We just have to put a lineup on the court that is going to be consistent. The setting position is our biggest concern. Kaylee and Macey set last year, and Reagan Dunlap and Kyla Carrier are other considerations for that job.”
Thompson said her players have been diligently working in the offseason to prepare for the rigorous upcoming campaign.
“Three of them were recently at beach nationals,” she said. “Bella and her partner got second place while Kailin and Kaylee got third.
“All of these girls are maturing. We had a real young team last year. I hope we’re mentally stronger…we have to be. Everybody’s a year older so our mindset should be better.”
And Thompson knows that in a district which isn’t short on five-set matches, physical toughness is needed each time Clear Brook takes the court.
“That’s one of the big keys for us - learning how to give total effort all the time,” she said. “We can’t pick and choose when to work hard.”
Thompson also said there are times to be aggressive and times to be less so.
“Serving errors are always a problem,” she said. “You want to serve aggressively, but you need to be aware of the situation.
“There are certain times when you can’t afford a mistake. The risk-versus-reward scenario changes throughout a match.”
With a strong non-district schedule which features opponents Bridgeland, Cy Creek, Deer Park, Ridge Point, Spring Branch Memorial, Bellaire and Pearland along with challenging tournaments, Brook should be fully prepared for the wars which wait in 24-6A.
“Clear Falls has a lot coming back and so does Creek and Springs,” Thompson said. “Clear Lake should be very competitive, too. Dickinson was pretty big last year, and they competed well.
“We’ve got a few matches to figure it out. We had a lot of girls see court time last year, and it’s going to boil down to who can get the job done, and who can be the most consistent.”