The Texas Sports Writers Association recently named its all-state teams and the Collinsville Lady Pirates were well represented.
Headlining those selections was senior outside hitter Lexie Martin, who was named to the second team.
Head coach Melissa Johnson said Martin was the team’s leading attacker and led the offense in myriad ways.
“She was an integral part of our offensive game,” Johnson said. “It didn’t matter how her set was, she got out there and performed just like we expect every athlete to. There were times where we would need her to dig a ball out and she was there. She would give a 100% every time. She didn’t have an off game very often and she’s a natural leader. Her leadership just continued throughout the season in volleyball, basketball and softball. She knew what her role was and played it well.”
Senior libero Gracie Cavin was selected to the third team and Johnson said she was all over the place defensively for the Lady Pirates.
“She’s played varsity the last three years as the libero going in for two players at a time, she led in digs and led the team in receptions,” Johnson said. “I needed her in there as much as possible. She sacrificed her body to make plays and it will be hard to fill Lexie and her shoes. She also played all three sports and her leadership was consistent throughout. We’ll miss having her.”
Finally, senior setter Carrie Johnson was named to the honorable mention team and she finished as an all-region tournament selection as well.
Johnson said Carrie’s role morphed over the past few years.
“She’s started all four years of high school and the first two years she was a co-setter, but her junior and senior year she was the primary setter and the quarterback of the team,” Johnson said. “She was second leader in assists and she was able to play all the way around. That’s very rare. I depended on her setting the ball to the attackers and scorers. She’s also a natural leader and will be missed as well.”
Johnson said to be selected to an all-state team is a big accomplishment.
“Having them recognized as players that are highlighted game after game, I’m excited they got those accolades,” Johnson said. “Even to get that recognition in May of 2020 when you might have thought volleyball was over, it’s a nice surprise with the softball seasons being cut short. Late is better than nothing. I’m just excited for them.”
The Lady Pirates finished second in their district and Johnson said the regular season went as well as she expected it to.
“We had a goal to match or closely match our record from last year,” Johnson said. “We ended up second in district and the only team we lost to was Lindsay in our district and we were the only team to take Lindsay to five sets. To me, that shows improvement and that’s all you ask for as a coach every year is to continue to see your teams improve.”
Collinsville finished 10-2 in district and made regional tournament before finishing with a 37-11 record.
“We didn’t make it to the regional tournament last year, so not only did we improve in district, we improved our season record and in the playoffs,” Johnson said. “It was so much fun. That’s the furthest I’ve made it in my career so that was a great experience.”
Four seniors are graduating and Johnson said it will tough to lose those key players.
“It’s part of the athletic world,” Johnson said. “They’ve set great examples. They’ve been phenomenal leaders on the court. They’re coaches themselves and they tend to repeat it because they’ve bought in. They’ll be missed. That’s a position for a player to step into. It’s a time for anybody to step up who wants it. With this time being off, we sent out a workout every day and the time off is a true test of character to push yourself.”
Johnson said she wants the team to improve on last season and keep setting the standard high and higher.
“I’m not going to lower the bar because the expectation is still there,” Johnson said. “I look forward to it. It will be exciting. We’re kind of starting over and not having those four seniors there, it will be an opportunity to step up and see who the next leaders are.”