GARLAND – To fulfill a goal that was written onto a white board in the depths of Kingwood Park High School inside head coach Kelly Miser's office before the season started, the Panthers would have to beat the best.
The best being three-straight former state champions in the final three matches of the year.
First, it was Friendswood (1994 Class 4A State Champion) in the Region III-6A Final inside Delmar Fieldhouse to punch its ticket to the state tournament for the first time.
Then it was Canyon Randall (2009 Class 4A State Champion) in the Class 5A State Semifinal match.
Finally, it was six-time state champion Lucas Lovejoy (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Class 3A State Champion, 2014 Class 5A State Champion) with the championship on the line.
Kingwood Park beat them all. The Panthers beat the best to be the best in 2018.
“I think we had one of the tougher sides of the bracket coming into this,” Kingwood Park coach Kelly Miser said after a straight-set sweep of Lovejoy for the title. “I wouldn’t have it any other way, because it helped us to be battle-tested by the time we get here. Just knowing no matter who we’re up against if we take care of the ball on our side that we can hang with and beat everybody.”
When looking back on Kingwood Park’s schedule for the year, of the eventual 40 wins, six came against teams that had won a state championship before.
“I think it’s awesome and it really proves that since we played such tough teams in preseason and in playoffs it’s a testament to how we were able to come back and fight back,” Kingwood Park junior Libby Overmyer, the Class 5A State Championship Game MVP, said.
Kingwood Park with the win became the first-ever Humble ISD volleyball program to win a state championship.
It’s like the old saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best. Kingwood Park did just that.
“It feels pretty surreal,” Miser said. “It’s an amazing feeling. There are really no words to describe how proud I am of this group. They truly are selfless and put each other before themselves and I really think the team aspect of this special group is what carried us all the way through.”