Welcome to the start of the UIL volleyball state playoffs! Yes, the tournament began last week, but round 3 is when the high school sports tournaments, outside of football, truly begin. Most of the field fillers and teams who got in because four teams from each district were needed to fill the field are gone. The contenders for Garland will begin to play each other this week.
3A: I start with 3A because of the stunning upset on Thursday night of Poth by Johnson City. Poth went through district play largely unchallenged, and most of its losses were to 5A and 6A opponents. Johnson City was supposed to be another warm-up match in order to prep for a fourth straight meeting with 2-time defending champion Goliad. LBJ’s alma mater had other plans, and swept Poth right out of the tournament. Poth failed to make the second week of the tournament for the first time since 2008. Goliad, who hasn’t allowed more than 11 points in a set through 2 rounds, is now an extremely heavy favorite to get back to Garland, and will play Jourdanton next.
6A: NISD has had a phenomenal run so far through two rounds. Four of five teams are still playing, including both district champions if you include 5A Harlan. Clark dropped a set against New Braunfels, but was able to advance, Brandeis beat 25-6A champion Austin Westlake in 5, O’Connor took Schertz Clemens out of system and swept a second straight district champion, and Warren took a set from regional co-favorite Churchill in round 1 before the Chargers lost to NB Canyon in round 2. Clark faces Canyon on Tuesday, while OC and Brandeis meet again. The latter split a pair of 5-setters in which Brandeis won the first 2 sets both times, with OC coming back in each to win one and the Broncos hanging on for the other.
5A: I mentioned above that new NISD school Harlan is into round 3, as are Seguin and regional favorite Dripping Springs. Boerne Champion beat Cinderella Jefferson in round 2. All four advancers have dropped one set so far. DS and Seguin play on Tuesday in New Braunfels. If Seguin wins this, like football did in a district matchup, the Matadors might find themselves in Garland. Champion and Harlan also play, with the other matchups involving the southern districts of 5A. Tuloso-Midway is out, so 5A will have a new team in Garland.
4A: Defending state champion Needville barely avoided an upset, but outlasted Boerne in 5 sets in round 2, and will play Bellville in round 3. The winner of that match is the regional favorite. La Vernia plays Devine and Geronimo Navarro faces Pleasanton in a doubleheader at Blossom on Tuesday. The winner of the first match plays the “ ’ville’ champion” in round 4.