Crawford coach Jeff Coker never kept his plans a secret.
Whenever the Lady Pirates were put in a difficult spot, they rested their fate on the right arm of Ky Foster.
Everybody knew the ball was going to the senior outside hitter, but there were very few opponents that could do anything about it.
Foster piled up a school-record 586 kills and added 60 aces to the offense while contributing 377 digs and 34 blocks for a Crawford team that spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A poll and reached its first-ever state tournament with a 46-3 record.
“It’s nice to continue the tradition of excellence at Crawford,” Foster said. “We just worked hard each day to get better, and we really proved ourselves to get to the state tournament for the first time. It’s really nice knowing I went out with a bang, with all the stuff we accomplished.”
Along the way, Foster picked up the titles of District 21-2A MVP and Texas Girls Coaches Association all-state selection.
Now she can add another, as she’s been named the 2013 Super Centex Player of the year.
“(The award) means so much. I wouldn’t be here today without my family and the team,” Foster said. “Coach Coker called me, and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ It means more than you can imagine to me. because I’ve put in eight years of volleyball now. To finish my senior year with being player of the year is such and accomplishment and such a dream that I never thought I would have.”
Foster claimed the award over worthy contenders like District 17-3A MVP Abigail McKenzie of West, the 2012 Super Centex Newcomer of the Year, and District 19-3A Bree Bossier of Fairfield.
Consistency was the key for Foster, as she went for double-digit kills in 39 matches, including each of Crawford’s last 17, and had nine another five times. She also picked up double-digit digs in the last four matches of the year.
“I enjoy all aspects of it,” Foster said. “Definitely hitting is my strong point. I can play back row, but hitting is where I come alive and where people get to see what I work so hard to do.”
Foster hopes to continue her volleyball career in college, but she’s taking her time and trying to make the right decision.
Her time in Crawford ended in disappointing fashion with a 3-0 loss to eventual state champion Bushland in the semifinals, but Foster and the Lady Pirates can hold their heads high for all the history they made along the way.
“Coach Coker talked to me the weekend after (the state tournament) because he knew I was pretty upset and disappointed,” Foster said. “He just opened my eyes to see that we accomplished so much that it’s OK that we didn’t go all the way because we made it there, and that itself is something so important.”
Coach of the Year: Sandy Dickerson, West
There was no way to know what to expect from West on the volleyball court this year.
After all, the Lady Trojans had a dearth of experience on the squad, but that wasn’t the worst part. That was the fact that they didn’t even know where they were going to practice from day to day after the high school’s gym was damaged in the April fertilizer plant explosion.
“When you first start in August and you have no gym, and you’re just scattered here and there, nothing feels stable,” West coach Sandy Dickerson said. “You’re moving from day to day and trying to find a place to practice, I think that was some of the uncertainty. I wasn’t doubtful, but was just questioning how things were going to play out.”
Dickerson and the Lady Trojans worked through the precarious situation and put together another fine season that included a share of the District 17-3A title and their second straight regional final berth.
West won the first set against College Station in that match and held a 24-20 lead in the second that it let slip away and eventually fell in four sets.
For holding everything together, Dickerson has been selected as the Super Centex Coach of the Year.
“It’s surprising to me. I was in shock. I did not expect to get it,” Dickerson said. “There are so many deserving coaches out there that go through ups and downs also, but this is my 30th year of coaching and my first (time winning this award). So it’s a great honor, a true honor. It’s the next best thing to making it to state.”
Dickerson was in with a stacked field of coaches who led their teams to impressive seasons. Jeff Coker took Crawford to the school’s first-ever No. 1 ranking and state tournament, while Angela Antis was at the helm of a dramatic turnaround for Vanguard that resulted in a regional final run.
Newcomer of the Year: Allye Beth Deaton, Midway
Not many schools, especially at the Class 5A level, had as little varsity experience as Midway.
The Pantherettes had to rely heavily on three freshmen as starters throughout the season, and coach Janet Angell watched as her team worked its way through an inconsistent start to become a tough out at the end of the year.
Everybody had to carry her part of the burden for improvement, but none of the newcomers stood out like Allye Beth Deaton.
“We knew (Deaton) could hit, but she was also good in serve-receive and on defense,” Angell said. “She is enough of an athlete that she can do it all, and that bodes well for the future. She has a good set of skills.”
Deaton’s impact was noticed by the district’s coaches, who voted her as the 8-5A Newcomer of the Year, and she was also the choice for Super Centex Newcomer of the Year.
Deaton was thrust into a go-to hitter’s role early when junior Allison Jones missed time with an injury. Angell said she handled that situation with maturity and was a remarkably steady performer. Deaton finished the season with 409 kills, 450 digs and 62 aces.
“She just goes about her job,” Angell said. “... She’s one of three solid anchors we’re going to have. They’ve got a year’s worth of experience, and they’ll just get better and better every year. By the time they’re juniors, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Racked up 360 kills, 81 blocks to help Lady Goats to District 19-3A crown
District 19-3A MVP was dominant force at net with 13 kills, 4 blocks per match
Came on late in season to post 403 kills, 115 blocks, earn 17-3A blocker of year
Set school record with 146 blocks, added 333 kills to Lady Trojans’ attack
All-around force put down 379 kills, dug up 1,035 shots to earn all-state honor
Player of Year was go-to hitter for team that made 1st run to state tournament
Amassed area-best 611 kills, added 33 aces to claim District 17-3A hitter of year award
Honored as District 17-3A MVP with 383 kills, 410 digs, 33 aces for regional finalist
Gave team steady hand of experience while picking up 8-5A setter of year honor
Centerpiece of efficient attack with school-record
1,282 assists, added 410 digs, 50 aces
Leader on back row picked up school-record 1,054 digs, smacked 63 aces
ALLYE BETH DEATON
Stepped in and made immediate impact in all areas with 409 kills, 450 digs, 62 aces
Guided Lady Trojans to 2nd straight trip to regional final despite dealing with uncertainty