Volleyball: Friendswood to start year at Clear Lake
Two of the area's most prominent volleyball programs — Clear Lake and Friendswood — open the season against each other, and it's a pairing you'd love to see in the playoffs, but can't.
Friendswood, which has been one of the top Class 4A teams locally and beyond, travels to 5A Clear Lake, also rated among the best at the district, region and state levels in its respective classification.
This would be a premier postseason confrontation, if it could happen, but for now, it's a classic predistrict meeting with both teams sure to benefit from facing top-flight competition, and one heck of a way to get the season underway.
ABOUT THE GAME
• Matchup: Friendswood at Clear Lake
• When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9
• Where: Clear Lake High School
• What's at stake: Winning the season opener against another top playoff contender
• Friendswood players to watch: OH Jill Bergeson, MB Annie Mitchem, MB Shannon Ellis
• Clear Lake players to watch: MB Kiara Wright, MB Sarah Strasner, OH Haley Satterwhite
• Friendswood: The Lady Mustangs enjoyed great success under former coach Jerry Linch (253-56 overall, 85-3 district the past seven seasons), and now it's up to former Friendswood player (2004 graduate) and assistant coach (last season) Kelly Beck to carry on. Beck, who you may recognize as Kelly Stanton (her maiden name), also played at Texas A&M, and is thrilled to be taking over where she grew up and into being a Lady Mustang ... Friendswood was 37-9 overall last year, won the District 24-4A title and beat Lamar Consolidated, Waltrip, Foster and Magnolia in the playoffs before falling to Brenham in the region finals, and afterwards, Linch decided to coach freshmen volleyball and continue teaching at Friendswood, and hand it over to Beck ... This is Beck's first try as a head coach after serving as an assistant at Copperas Cove, and also out of state in North Carolina, and in Friendswood in 2010 ... Bergeson, a junior, and Mitchem, a senior, were named to the 2011 Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Top 32 preseason team ... After opening at Clear Lake, Friendswood plays at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 at Barbers Hill. The first home match is at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 with Ball.
• Clear Lake: The Lady Falcons were also Region III finalists last season, but in Class 5A, and they fell to Cy Woods one step short of the state tournament after recording playoff victories over Kempner, North Shore, Deer Park and Cy-Fair ... Clear Lake and Clear Creek tied for the District 24-5A title in 2010 and the Lady Falcons won a playoff for the top postseason seed ... Coach Chanda Eager is in her ninth season at Clear Lake and was the 24-5A Coach of the Year last season, and in 2007 and 2009 ... The Lady Falcons were 34-11 overall and 13-1 in district last year, and that overall mark included a 25-13, 25-18, 25-23 sweep of Friendswood in the 2010 season opener ... Wright, who is committed to USC, had 10 kills and four blocks against the Lady Mustangs a year ago, and she's also a member of the 2011 GHVCA Top 32 preseason team ... Clear Lake is at the Duncanville Tournament on Aug. 12-13 and begins action against Coppell at 10 a.m. on Aug. 12. The next home appearance after Tuesday, Aug. 9, is at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 23 with Bellaire.
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