Oct. 27, 2006

Cardinals Capture Seventh Consecutive District Title

By Carlos Febles


Houston, TX - For the seventh year in a row, the Bellaire Cardinals are the district 20-5A Volleyball Champions.  It is believed that the seventh consecutive district title is an HISD record; however, HISD officials could not confirm. 

The Cardinals completed the regular season without losing a single district game for the second year in-a-row.  The Cardinals finished district play with a record of 16-0 and have an overall record of 32-8.    The Cardinals won the title by defeating cross-town rival Westside in three games.  “The girls (Westside) came out here tonight and played their tails-off,” said Westside Head Coach Smoke.  “That’s all that I can ask.  Good luck to Bellaire in the play-offs”

“You’ve played your butt off,” stated Marmion Dambrino, HISD Manager of Athletic Programs as she was handing Bellaire the district title trophy.  “The season is done but the playoff’s have just begun.  You still have your work cut-out for you.  You’ve done a great job and you have a great coach and you’re a great group of girls – CONGRATULATIONS.” 

The future looks bright for Bellaire as their JV completed the season without losing a match in or out of district with an overall record of 25-0.  Like their big sisters in the varsity team, the JV did not lose a single game during district play.  The JV team defeated the likes of Fort Bend Austin who’s varsity team is ranked sixth in the Houston area by Houston Chronicle and was the only team to take a single game from Bellaire this year.  The Lady Cardinals also defeated two private school powerhouses, Second Baptist who’s varsity squad is ranked third in the state and St. Agnes who is ranked second in the state.  “Their awesome, great kids, great players, it was wonderful!” said JV Coach Evans.  “Hannah Jones came through with some great hits.  My setter Kara Febles is tremendous.  She is going to the playoff’s with the varsity.  Johann Garcia played libero wonderfully.”   

The Freshman team improved immensely throughout the season.  After suffering first round defeats from Lamar and Westside, the team was able to avenge their defeats in the second round of play by beating both teams.  They completed the season tied for first place with Westside. 

As the JV and Freshmen players graduate to the varsity squad, Bellaire should continue to enjoy their winning ways for the next two years with the possibility of district title number eight and number nine. 

 “I am very please with the improvement of all three teams this season,” Bellaire Head Coach Ap Clark stated. “They all deserve to be District Champs.


Oct. 12, 2006

Despite Struggles Bellaire Cards Continue to Work

By Heath Hamilton

Bellaire Examiner


By coach Jeff Walker’s estimate, his defense had a good practice the week of the Cardinals’ game against Madison on Friday.

But 506 yards of Marlins’ offense later, his team was at the short end of a 51-20 game. (more of the story)


Oct. 4, 2006

Rice Defeats Houston in Five Games

By Carlos Febles


Houston, TX - The University of Houston Cougars Volleyball team road about five miles across town to challenge the Rice University Owls for their 66th encounter at Autry Court. After a grueling five game, 2-1/2 hour match the Owls came on top (27-30, 30-26, 34-32, 23-30, 15-12). The player’s hard work was noted with five players realizing careers-best games.

Cougar sophomore, Justine Farmer had a double-double night with 20 digs and a career-high 31 kills. Krystal Schulle and Kelly McAnelly also achieved double-doubles. Schulle produced 60 assists with 15 digs while McAnelly scored 15 kills and 13 digs. Ashley Calhoun defended the back-row with a career-best 29 digs.

The Owls had three players with career-best performances. Natalie Bogan achieved her personal best with 19 kills. Yvetter Kirk C-USA players of the week, (October 2nd) achieved a career-high of 34 digs. Rachel Lopez, also an October 2nd C-USA player of the week achieved a double-double with 16 digs and a career-best 69 assists.

During the first game U of H got an early lead at 1-4 after four Rice errors. Houston extended their lead to 3-8, forcing Rice to take a timeout. Rice got some momentum and closed the gap to one point (8-9) with the three kills from Bogan and one from Jennifer McClean. A series of seven sequential errors brought the score to 11-12. The Houston lead varied from one to two points for the next ten points until the Cougars extended their lead to five points after a Justine Farmer kill, score 17-22. Houston’s lead fluctuated from two to five points, until they led by six at 23-29. After three attack errors Cougar, Coach Walton was forced to take a timeout, score 26-29. Natalie Bogan brought Rice one point closer but U of H closed the game with a kill from Justine Farmer, 27-30

During the second game Houston managed a one to three point lead until a tie at 13-13. The two teams exchanged points until the 17-17 tie. Rice got some momentum and took a three point lead at 21-18 compelling Walton to take a timeout. Rice extended their lead to eight points at 28-20 and got to game point with a McClean kill, 29-20. Houston fought back within three points but finally yielded to Rice with the final score of 30-26.

After ties at 1-1, 2-2, and 8-8, Houston took a commanding, six point lead at 9-15 in the third game. Rice maintained their composure, slowly chipping away at the Cougar lead until they tied the game at 20-all. The next twenty points included seven ties, five lead changes and 16 kills by seven different players, including four kills by Houston’s Sunshine Misa-Uli. Without a two-point lead at 30-30, the game went into overtime. Rice and Houston exchanged points and tied the game 31 and 32. Rice won the third game when they secured the compulsory two-point lead with a kill by Jessica Holderness and a serving ace by Jennifer McClean, 34-32.

Houston quickly took a three point lead (0-3) in the forth game and maintained the three point gap though 1-4, 3-6, and 4-7. Two Rice kills (Jessie Boulavsky and Teresa Kuykendall) and an ace by Kristina Dennemann tied the score at 7-7. The teams tied at 8, 12, 13, and 14. After two kills by Kelly McAnelly and Justine Farmer, (14-16), Houston got some momentum. Two Rice attack errors gave Houston a 14-18 lead and forced Coach Volpe to call a timeout. Houston capitalized on their momentum and took a 19-26 lead with a service ace from Becca Sartori. The teams traded points back and forth until Houston took the fourth game 23-30.

The final game started with a 2-0 Rice lead. Houston tied the game at 2-all and for the next 18 points the teams tied seven times up to 11-11. Consecutive kills by Holderness and Boulavsky gave Rice a two-point lead at 13-11. A Houston kill by Farmer brought the game within a point, 13-12. Boulavsky scored another kill to bring Rice to game-point. Rice capped the game with a service ace from Kuykendall to win the game 15-12 and the match (3-2).


Sept. 30, 2006

Bellaire Wins HISD Tournament

By Carlos Febles


For the second time this week the Cardinals beat Westside (25-11, 25-13) to win the HISD Tournament.  Earlier in the day, the Cardinals decisively beat the Pasadena Eagles to advance into the finals. 


After the second lose to Bellaire Westside coach Smoke believes her team has the talent but has not played to their potential.  “We did not play to our potential at all,” said Westside Coach Smoke.  “All mental, that’s what we are lacking.  We have talent you know, we just need to get it going upstairs.” 


The Cardinals continue their win-streak without having lost a single game. “I thought we played very well,” stated Bellaire Head Coach Ap Clarke.  “We played very steady.  I think we took Westside out of their game.  I thought Kalynn had a great match.  She was fed allot of balls and put allot of balls down.” 

Bellaire had four players nominated to the all tournament squad including Ariana Chinn, Tanya Grinblat, Amy Grinstead, and Alyssa Moniaci Kalynn Evans was voted as the Tournament Most Valuable Tournament. 


Sept. 27, 2006

Cardinals Score a Big Win Against Westside
By Carlos Febles


At 6:45 PM the most important volleyball game thus far in district 20-5A play commenced when Westside served to Bellaire.  The Westside Wolves and the Bellaire Cardinals both came into this heavy-weight match with an unbeaten record in league play with a 15-5, 8-0 for the Wolves and 16-8, 7-0 for the Cardinals.  

The first point was won by Bellaire when a Westside player unintentionally stepped on Bellaire’s side of the court.  After a tie at 3-3 the Cardinals began to exert their dominance which forced Westside to take a timeout to regroup with the score 11-6.  Bellaire widened their lead to 17-11 after a kill by senior, outside hitter, Kalynn Evans, one of eight kills that she scored during the evening.  For the next ten points Westside was able to play Bellaire at par until junior setter Alyssa Moniaci grounded the ball on the Wolves court giving Bellaire a 23-16.  Bellaire easily won the first game with final score of 25-16.

In the second game the Cardinals quickly got off to a 5-1 lead forcing Westside to take an early timeout.  Everything was working for Bellaire, including a back-row set by sophomore, libero Vivian Hu which lead to another kill by Evans, score 7-1.  As the Cardinals took an 8-1, it appeared that they were invincible.  The Wolves were not about to give up without a fight and with several small rallies were able close the gap to 9-5. After several unforced errors by Bellaire, Westside closed the gap to three points, 13-10.  Coach Ap Clarke called a timeout to settle the Cardinals.  The Wolves continued their rally and got as close as 14-13, before Bellaire’s Moniaci provided some skillful serves including one of  the three aces she scored in the evening to give back BHS their lost momentum. After Bellaire extend their lead to 17-13, Westside took their second timeout.  A series of service errors by both teams brought the score to 21-17.  BHS proceed to score the next three points with a back row kill by Liz Grubb, a kill by middle hitter Tanya Grinblat and a setter attack by Moniaci, score 24-17.  Both teams then exchanged service errors giving Bellaire the second game, 25-18. 

During the third game it appeared that Westside was ready to take the third game.  Bellaire took a slight lead at 12-11, and started soar like eagles scoring seven unanswered points to extend their lead to 19-11.  Westside was able to score another four points before they succumbed to the Cardinals with a final score of 25-15. 

The rivalry brought a large fan base from both school and put allot of pressure on the players to perform.  The stress of the game could be seen by the numerous serving errors that both teams had.  “When there is allot of pressure it is very hard to get your serves in but overall we beat them in three games to I’m happy, said Cardinals senior middle, hitter Amy Grinstead.  Wolves coach Tiffany Smoke added “I think there was pressure on our players, but what’s a rivalry if there’s no pressure? We are supposed to play well no matter what.” 

On paper the teams are evenly matched with some of the critics stating that the Wolves would have “banner season” this year including a pre-season article written by Houston Chronicle reporter Jeff Jenkins titled “Westside out for first district title.”  The Westside team is playing with the confidence that comes with a senior team.  "I think that we are equally matched to Bellaire; we just got outplayed last night, said coach Smoke. “We did not play to our potential, because if we had, I believe the outcome would have been different.”

For the time being, Bellaire has sole possession of first place in district play with an 8-0 record.


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