New crop of leaders emerges at HHS

Jaguars take aim at fourth straight district volleyball championship in 2021

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Midlothian Heritage sophomore Grace Sweeney (5) had a standout first season on the Lady Panthers varsity squad and is poised for an even bigger role this fall.

Somehow, Heritage High School’s volleyball program keeps sending great players off to college — and more great players continue to pop up behind them.

This season, the Jaguars will have a younger look following the graduation of an outstanding senior class that was led by Elizabeth Schmidt, the Ellis County High School Sports Awards 2021 Female Athlete of the Year. But another solid senior class has been waiting in the wings.

The Jags opened their new season on Tuesday evening at Kaufman with a dual match also involving Lindale.

Last year’s team played a brutal non-district schedule at the beginning of the season, but it paid off in the Jags ran the table in District 11-4A for the third consecutive year. The Jags stretched their district win streak to 32 matches in a row, going back to a 3-2 loss to state tournament-bound Glen Rose in the 2017 regular-season finale.

HHS finished 19-9 and reached the area round of the playoffs, falling to Aubrey in straight sets.

Senior defensive specialist Rhali Adams and sophomore outside hitter Grace Sweeney are the top two returning players for the Jags. Adams was a member of the Ellis County HSSA team last year and Sweeney, an HSSA honorable mention, made an immediate impact as a freshman last fall with 136 kills and 170 digs.

Other returnees with experience are seniors Sydney Dickson, Kensey Clifton, Kenlee Ponivas, Cayla Williams and Sabrina Bryan, and juniors Emilee Casey and Allie Schmidt.

HHS will play four straight home matches on Tuesdays, hosting North Forney on Aug. 17, Stephenville on Aug. 24, Argyle on Aug. 31 and South Grand Prairie on Sept. 7. District 11-4A play will begin Friday, Sept. 10 at home against Alvarado.