HS Volleyball: College Park Clinches Third Place with Win Against Conroe

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 10/24/2023


CONROE, TX -- The College Park Lady Cavaliers (24-8) hit the road and defeated the Conroe Lady Tigers (22-23) in the Lady Cavs’ push toward the playoffs.

Due to the Woodlands Lady Highlanders being one game ahead of the Lady Cavs, a win in straight sets would force multiple tiebreakers to come into play.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, College Park Head Coach Candice Collins Gibson illustrated the team’s knowledge of and mindset around the standings before the match.

“We knew last week how important these last three matches would be,” said Collins. “[The team] has been super focused this whole week on coming in here and taking care of business.”

With their position in the standings in mind, College Park got to work in the first set.

Both teams jockeyed for points in the initial opening, with separation being a hard-fought luxury. There were a total of four ties and two lead changes before either team had hit double digits.

The first meaningful separation came when the Lady Cavaliers mounted a four-point scoring run to break a tie, establishing a lead simultaneously. Despite the lead, Conroe kept within striking distance throughout the set due to their sensational blocking.

Conroe Head Coach Keandra McCardell called a timeout after the College Park lead grew to five points to stop the momentum the Lady Cavs had slowly been building. The timeout did not stop the College Park advance, however. Coach Collins’ girls continued to extend their lead by forcing their way through the block attempts of the Lady Tigers.

The College Park lead grew as high as nine points before Conroe could attempt a comeback. But by the time the Lady Tigers were connecting on hits, it was too late. The cushion was too large for the Lady Tigers to overcome, as they fell 25-17 in the opening set.

“We were locked in and ready,” said Collins on her team’s performance to start. “We talked about coming out and setting the tone from the beginning.”

The Lady Cavs continued their run after a shaky start to the second set. Conroe entered the set with renewed energy, where they fought for every point in the early going by setting up sound blocks. These blocks tied the set and briefly provided the Lady Tigers a lead as the teams hit double-digit points.

There were seven total ties between the two teams before College Park began to pull away. The lead was not staggering for the Lady Cavs, but it was built too quickly for Conroe to adjust.

Hitters from Conroe tried to adjust on the fly, with tips over the College Park blockers to pick up points, but it was too late again. College Park took the second set 25-20, forcing Conroe into a desperate push to get one set under their control.

Looking to put the match away, the Lady Cavs played their highest caliber volleyball in the third set. The team rattled off eight straight points to start the set, which built the largest lead held by either team.

With the lead in hand, College Park could see the finish line. Some minor scores from the Lady Tigers were all that would get in the way of College Park claiming the final set. Another strong finish fueled by digs from the back row propelled the Lady Cavaliers to a 25-17 win and victory in straight sets.

“It has been a very long district stretch,” said Collins. “So to finish at the top where we wanted to and to stay focused for that long really says a lot.”

The straight-set win pushes College Park into a tie with the Woodlands in terms of record. The standings see the Lady Highlanders claim second place, with the tiebreaker having to fall to head-to-head points between the two teams. The Woodlands has a slight advantage over College Park, forcing the Lady Cavs to settle for third place.

The win does confirm that College Park will keep up a positive stretch of wins going into the playoffs. A three-game winning streak will push the Lady Cavaliers into a game where their confidence can shine.

“I am hopeful that it gives them confidence,” said Collins on the win. “I hope it gets them ready for that next level.”

College Park now awaits its upcoming playoff opponent while the season comes to an end for the Lady Tigers, who finished one game below .500 on the year.

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