5 storylines from championship Saturday at the UIL state volleyball tournament


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Byron Nelson coach head coach and Amarillo High graduate Brianne Barker-Grothe celebrates after her team closes out Plano West to win the Class 6A state championship in Garland on Saturday. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]

1. A family affair

Former Amarillo High great Brianna Barker-Groth led Trophy Club Byron Nelson to the program’s first ever state championship in an exciting five-set win over Plono West (21-25, 25-12, 22-25, 25-15, 15-7) in the Class 6A title game in front of 1,328 fans at the Curtis Culwell Center on Saturday night in Garland.

Barker-Groth — who is one of the greatest players to ever come out of Amarillo High, helping lead the Lady Sandies to back-to-back state titles in 2006-2007 — is the oldest daughter of Hall of Fame AHS coach, Jan Barker. It was a special weekend for the Barker family. Not only did Jan get to see her daughter win her first title as a coach, her 2009 state championship team was honored by the UIL before the game. Jan‘s Lady Sandies team’s won 10 state championships and compiled a record of 1,116-175 in 31 seasons before she retired in 2017.

Barker-Groth, who’s Byron Nelson team is ranked No. 1 nationally, ends the year with a 50-2 record. Barker-Groth is now 96-2 in two seasons at the school.

2. A new record

The Lovejoy fans pack the Curtis Culwell Center on Saturday afternoon in Garland. [Provided photo]

The UIL broke a new attendance record at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland over the four day High School State Volleyball Tournament. From Wednesday to Saturday, an announced 17,387 fans attended the state tournament. A total of 4,152 fans made their way to the Culwell Center on championship Saturday.

3. The tradition continues

Lucas Lovejoy won its seventh state championship since opening its doors in 2006. [Provided photo]

Since opening the doors in 2006, all Lucas Lovejoy knows is bringing home hardware. On Saturday, the Lady Leopards captured the program’s seventh state volleyball championship, and the first since 2014, sweeping Randall in the Class 5A title game, 27-25, 25-17, 25-15.

Head coach Ryan Mitchell, who started the Lovejoy in 2006 and coached the team to its first five state titles, won his seventh title.

The Lady Leopards end a historic year at 48-5.

4. Thank you seniors

Randall celebrates a point during Friday’s semifinal win against Alamo Heights. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]

It wasn’t the ending Randall wanted, falling in a sweep to Lucas Lovejoy, 27-25, 25-17, 25-15. The Lady Raiders will say goodbye to a special senior class of Toryn Barrientos, Brianna Ford, Addison Howard, Peyton Irwin, Addison Norman, Zoe Parker and Stevie Reynecke.

The talented and extremely close group won 80 plus games over the last two years, making back-to-back trips to the UIL state tournament.

The Randall seniors were responsible for two straight outright District 3-5A championships, and leave with 41 straight district wins.

5. Family

The Hereford bench explodes after a point in the UIL Class 4A state championship game on Saturday. [Matt Smith/ For Press Pass Sports]

The Hereford community, and volleyball program became tight-knit group during the Lady Whitefaces magical run to the UIL state tournament. Hereford showed up in full force to root on the Lady Whitefaces Friday and Saturday, showing their appreciation for the team’s success. Hereford came up short to Lamar Fulshear in the state title game, but finish the year at 35-15, advancing to state for the first time since the 2008 season.


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