Friendswood looking to rebound from last season

FRIENDSWOOD — The Friendswood Lady Mustangs have a history of producing some outstanding state power volleyball teams with a strong history at the state volleyball tournament.

The Lady Mustangs captured the Class 4A state title in 1994 with a 35-6 record. They appeared in the state tournament in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2007. They played for another state championship in 2007 but fell short of that crown with the previous years ending their bid in the state semifinals.

Last season, Friendswood found themselves playing in the top classification after the University Interscholastic League (UIL) moved them up from Class 4A to Class 6A. They were realigned to the traditional tough District 24-6A that includes all the Clear Creek ISD schools, Dickinson, and Brazoswood.

Friendswood head coach Kylie Kunefk saw her girls finish an uncharacteristic 3-11 last season in district and a sixth place finish while closing out with a 14-25 overall mark in 2014.

Kunefk is encouraged that 2015 will have a different outcome.

"Despite a lull in 2014, all Lady Mustang volleyball athletes had a tremendous off season and worked hard," Kunefk said. "We are hoping to carry that drive and determination out on the court in 2015."

Friendswood has four outstanding starters returning for this season and they should provide strong leadership for a stronger showing in returning to the playoffs after a year's absence.

The Lady Mustangs will be led by S/RS Sarah Thomas (1,151 assists), outside hitter Kelly Colwell (387 kills), outside hitter Shannon Murphy, and DS Olivia Sykes (356 digs).

Returning lettermen include: S Caitlin Pray, DS Bailee Whitmarsh, OH/RS Jenna Chenette, DS Jordan Pleasants, and RS Faith Marabella.

"We will have some very athletic outside hitters this year," Kunefk said. "The Middles will be young, but very explosive. Our defensive specialists are returning with plenty of experience."

Kunefk will look to Thomas and Colwell for strong leadership after getting valuable experience last season. The overall team should show a lot of balance mixing youth and wisdom into the playoffs.

Sophomore McKenna Fridye and freshman Ashlyn Ross will be fresh new faces in the lineup and will use their athleticism and hard work to make positive contributions to the overall team effort.

Clear Creek could be the team to beat this year for the District 24-6A crown followed by Clear Springs, Clear Falls, and Friendswood as the teams to advance to the post-season.