By Wayland D. Clark
In the team’s first year in Class 6A, the Lady Tigers won the UIL State Championship. They did it on the biggest stage in Texas high school volleyball by defeating The Woodlands High School 3-1 in the semifinals and sweeping Katy Tompkins 3-0 in the finals game at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
When asked about the jump to 6A, head coach Michael Cane said “A good team is a good team.” Cane has taken his Dripping Springs volleyball teams to the state tournament six times in his 10 years at the helm (4A 2013, 5A 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2022), winning state in 2015.
In the 6A semifinal against The Woodlands on Friday, Dripping Springs lost the first game 21-25, then took the next three games 25-20, 25-19, 27-25 to advance to the final. Sydney Lund had 32 assists, and Presley Alford had 17. Freshman sensation Henley Anderson led with 19 kills, followed by Ava Williamson with 13, Mackenzie Plante with 10, Natalie Arnold and Riley Certain with 6 each, and Ashley Euston with 2. Taylor Tjelmeland led in digs with 25. In the last game for the win, a kill by Williamson tied it 25-25, and Arnold is credited with the next two points, the final point being a service ace.
“They [the team]were all so welcoming when I came in. Coming from a private school this is so much different and it’s an amazing experience,” Anderson said after winning the 6A Region IV final to advance to state. “I love this team so much.”
MVP and senior Plante led with 14 kills in the final 3-0 win on Saturday for the championship against Katy (26-24, 25-15, 25-19). Anderson had 10 kills, Arnold contributed 7, Williamson with 5, Certain with 4 and Euston with 1. Lund had 16 assists. Tjelmeland had 11 digs and Anderson had 8. In the first set, a nail biter, Tompkins’s three consecutive points tied it 24-24. A block by Certain and Euston put the Tigers up 25-24 and Plante’s kill won the set. “We have some freshmen and juniors but having kind of an older team (10 seniors), we all connect on the court really well and bond, and that’s what makes us so successful,” Plante said after the regionals.
“This program is a tribute to a lot of kids and a lot of years past, where the kids have taken ownership of a program and a reason it is one of the most successful in the state,” Kane said.
Seniors Plante and Williamson and freshman Anderson were named to the 6A State Championship All-Tournament Teams.
“You never know when you’ll have opportunities – we don’t take it for granted – every moment is something to hold on to,” Kane said.