New Caney’s volleyball season may not have gone the way they wanted, but going in to this season they knew that it would be a tough road with such a competitive schedule. Despite the odds, it never stopped the girls from playing and they never gave up on success. At the beginning of the season they played in the highly competitive Pearland Tournament in Pearland, TX. It is one of the best tournaments to compete at in the nation as top rankings teams like last year’s state champion, The Woodlands, ranked #1 in the nation at the time, were just among many of the top volleyball programs at the tournament. It was the second year in row that the Eagles competed in this tournament. “It was so important for me to be in a tournament where these could see volleyball the way it’s supposed to be played,“ Head Coach Shawn Meredith said. She wanted the kids to know what to expect when they went back this year and they were better prepared as the results showed picking up a victory during the tournament. “I’ve been pleased, we’ve made improvements since last year,” Meredith continued. “My goal is to play better than we did last year.”
Just walking into the gym you can see the competiveness of the girls as they are playing. “You can definitely tell there is a lot of heart. It may not necessarily show in the wins but everyone gives 100% every game,” senior captain Samantha Sotelo said. “Overall I just want the program to improve.” Sotelo mentioned that in her time at New Caney she has been through 3 different coaches and now she has seen the atmosphere change as the camaraderie has come together. She believes that, even though she’s graduating and won’t be here next season, the volleyball program will indeed make playoffs based on the improvements she’s seen. Sotelo hopes to be in Huntsville next fall at Sam Houston State where she has been offered an academic scholarship.
The Eagles are always aiming to reach the playoffs each season. They have not qualified for the post season since 2007. Even though they haven’t, fellow New Caney ISD school Porter is having great success this season and rather than dwell about being behind them in the district race, they show tremendous sportsmanship by going as far as tweeting them congrats on their recent victory over district favorite Barbers Hill. “The feelings we have for Porter is admiration and respect,” Coach Meredith confessed.
Meredith was formerly at Llano High School, which is northwest of Austin, TX. She was the head volleyball coach there for 7 years. She played volleyball at UT – Arlington and played in the Final Four her senior year at Hawaii eventually losing to national champion Long Beach State but defeating the University of Texas to win their Region.
Written by Mark M. Johnson