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Starting on top: Lady Eagles begin season ranked No. 1 in TGCA poll

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Decatur Lady Eagles ended the 2013 season as the top team in Texas in class 3A. They will now begin the 2014 campaign atop the new Class 4A.

View from the Top

VIEW FROM THE TOP – The Decatur Lady Eagles practice under the watchful eye of coach Claire Benedict-Gay Thursday. Friday, the Lady Eagles were ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A preseason poll. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The defending state champions were ranked No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s 4A poll released Friday.

“It’s a huge compliment to the girls returning and to the program,” said Decatur coach Claire Benedict-Gay. “It’s flattering and shows a huge amount of respect – but we don’t really look at that. We know there’s always room for improvement, and we have to try to get better every day.”

Bellville, who Decatur beat in the state title match last November to complete a 41-7 season, is ranked No. 2 in the poll. Abilene Wylie is third, College Station fourth, and Wimberley fifth. Longview Spring Hill is in the sixth spot followed by Bushland, Paris North Lamar, Huffman-Hargrove and Devine.

Decatur hit the floor Friday morning for its first action of the season with scrimmages against Trinity Christian-Addison, The Colony and Lucas Lovejoy.

“For day one, it was a good start,” Benedict-Gay said. “Being a part of the competitive team camp really helped.

“We played some good volleyball against [TCA and The Colony]. Lovejoy is a great team and program, and we were competitive with them.”

The Decatur coach was encouraged by the play of some younger players along with her veterans.

“We were able to run some offense and block a lot of balls,” Benedict-Gay said. “Everyone played. It was fun to see.”

Decatur heads to Aledo for another scrimmage Saturday. The Lady Eagles open the season and play at home for the first time since winning the state title at 10 a.m. Tuesday with a dual match against Azle and Joshua.

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