Net Gains: Alvord Lady Bulldogs

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, August 4, 2018
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The 2018 volleyball season is here. Practices have started and area teams will play their first games of the season next week.

To get you ready for the upcoming year, the Messenger previewed all seven Wise County teams as schools begin their quest to claim a state title.

2017: Bi-district qualifiers

Kinly Walker; Alvord, Outside Hitter. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

For the first time in almost a decade, Brandy Mayfield was wearing something other than blue and white when volleyball practices began Wednesday morning.

Donning black and gold, the new Alvord coach conceded it felt strange not sporting Decatur colors when she entered the gym. But she is ready for her next chapter with the Lady Bulldogs.

“I’m excited,” Mayfield said. “The [girls] look pretty good. Their work ethic is crazy.

“I’ve done a lot of reflecting and taking a step back. Coming from Decatur, those girls play [volleyball] year-round. At a smaller school, obviously a lot of the girls are multi-sport athletes, and I love that. I think it just makes them better all the way around. It’s really starting at ground zero.”

Mayfield spent nine years as an assistant at Decatur, winning state titles with the Lady Eagles in 2013 and 2014.

She inherits a program that has made the playoffs each of the past two seasons and has a large senior class. The Lady Bulldogs went 16-17 last year.

“I think it’s going to be really cool, especially because she has that experience,” said senior Kinly Walker. “Coach Mayfield is going to help us set our goals and reach them.”

Walker was the District 9-2A Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, recording 372 digs and 120 kills. Fellow seniors Christina Thomas and Kendall Connolly were second-team 9-2A selections.

After realignment in February, Alvord landed in District 11-2A with Lindsay, Valley View, Collinsville, Tioga, Forestburg, Saint Jo and Universal Academy.

Lindsay went 40-7 in 2017 and a perfect 14-0 in league play to claim the District 10-2A title. They lost in the 2A Region II semifinal to Crawford.

Valley View and Collinsville also had winning records in and made the playoffs. Tioga, the 2016 Class A champions, reached the region semifinals last year.

“It’s definitely going to be a tougher district,” Mayfield said. “But I think [it will help us].”

The Lady Bulldogs open the season Monday against Rio Vista. District play starts Sept. 7 at Forestburg.

Alvord’s motto entering the season is “Pound the Stone.” Mayfield said it refers to diligently putting in repetitive work to accomplish an end goal. For Alvord, it’s picking up that elusive postseason victory.

“That definitely is my long-term [goal] – to win their first playoff match,” Mayfield said.

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