KATY (Covering Katy News) - Behind another dominant performance from senior co-captain Madisen Skinner, Faith West Academy volleyball swept Lutheran High North (Houston) 20-25, 13-25, 16-25 on Tuesday night. The match was never really in doubt, with the Faith West Eagles demonstrating their chemistry and teamwork to make it a clean sweep against the Lutheran High Lions.

It has been an exciting and rewarding year so far for the Eagles (15-4-4, 2-1 in TAPPS Class 4A, District 6). After a challenging season in 2018, Faith West welcomed three newcomers that have meshed well with the core team, bringing the Eagles to the point where they are a clear threat to win the district and make a deep run in the state tournament. Competing with the motto “One Team, One Goal,” the girls have come together to create a powerful new force in District 6, leveraging the new talent to bring out the best in the strong and experienced group.

Senior outside hitter/middle blocker Skinner enrolled in Faith West in January, after being home-schooled previously, and playing volleyball with the club team Houston Skyline Juniors. Skinner’s skill and versatility is widely recognized, and she is already verbally committed to play volleyball at the University of Kentucky. Freshman setter Haley Muse (also co-captain because of her presence and despite her youth) is able to play the middle as a setter because of her quickness and hops on the court, averaging 1 to 2 blocks per game. Rounding out the newcomers is junior Beryl Bjork, a middle blocker transfer from Katy High School, who is a fixture in the 6 rotation. Those newcomers join a well-seasoned team at FWA, particularly with returning libero (defensive specialist) Miranda Tryon who provides a steady and strong backrow presence.

“At first, the rest of the team didn’t quite know what their role was [because of the newcomers], said head coach Danielle Bass, “but the new girls have worked so well with the girls on the team, and the rest of the girls have been incredibly welcoming and flexible in shifting roles to make a great team.” As an example of the effectiveness of that flexibility, coach Bass singles out co-captain Senior Grace Dubicki, who transitioned from her longtime role as a defensive specialist to an outside hitter role, and has thrived as the Eagles have soared to new heights this season. When senior middle blocker Catherine Crabtree was lost early to a broken foot, Dubicki’s flexibility and willingness to embrace a new role showed excellent teamwork and leadership, and is a key example of the unselfish nature of the team that is driving its success.

Demonstrating their potential, Faith West recently followed up a 3-1 road victory on September 6 over Second Baptist (Houston) with a thrilling five-set road defeat of last year’s state final four participant The Woodlands Christian Academy on September 26. In their match against the Woodlands Christian Warriors, the Eagles fell behind 0-2 (22-25, 13-25), but kept their composure and came back to win the last three sets 14-25, 13-25, and 3-15. Junior Ellen Carrico made a tremendous service run in the 5th set accumulating 2 aces. Those victories against traditional powerhouses have given the Eagles tremendous confidence, building on their unprecedented 3rd place finish against some of the best teams in the state at an early season tournament at McKinney Christian Academy in Dallas, and winning the gold bracket at a tournament at Living Stones Christian School in Alvin.

Coach Bass credits the entire team’s flexibility and genuine sisterhood for their success. “We pray together, we play together, we fly together,” said coach Bass, “we were missing one of our 6-rotation players, and the rest of the girls’ ability to adapt and play multiple positions was extremely helpful, especially senior Alexus Hayes who stepped up for the player that was out sick. ” That selflessness and teamwork has the Eagles poised to make some noise in District 6.

Faith West Volleyball’s next game is Friday October 4 at 6:00 pm at Faith Academy of Bellville. The team is composed of freshmen Anna Bulkley, Haley Muse, and Ashley Ryan, juniors Miranda Tryon, Ellen Carrico, and Beryl Bjork, and seniors Grace Dubicki, Alexus Hayes, Catherine Crabtree, and Madisen Skinner, and is coached by Danielle Bass.

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