There's no doubt McKinney Boyd has some of the most talented volleyball players in the state of Texas. It's also quite clear that head coach Kelly Quinn, who in five seasons has complied an overall record of 118-52, is one of the area's best volleyball coaches. On paper, the Lady Broncos have all the right pieces to make a run at the state title this fall but they've also developed an unparalleled team chemistry, both on and off the court, that is proving to be the final and most important ingredient in their recipe for volleyball success.
In the words of Kelly Quinn - the girls just like each other.
"They don't have to like each other to win volleyball games but it makes a big difference when they do because things seem to click," she said. "They can have a little argument on the court and then they get over it and play."
"They play for each other and I like that about this team."
In 2010, the Lady Broncs' advanced to the championship of the state volleyball tournament but were defeated by The Woodlands, 3-1. The loss marked the end of the road for Boyd's four seniors, Kelley Martin, Cami Bryant, Lindsey Dickschat, and Brittany Dubberstein. Although it was difficult to say goodbye to her seniors, Quinn was also thrilled to know that the bulk of her 2011 team would include girls who have a lot of experience playing together.
"The majority of the group this year have played together for a really long time so that team chemistry is amazing," she said. "The main difference between this year and last year is that we just have spectacular team chemistry."
Typically, the teams that have a strong bond with each other in addition to being talented are overall more fun to watch and that always helps fill up the bleachers. After a three-week absence, the Lady Broncos finally returned home for a volleyball game against Lake Highlands and they were greeted with a great turnout of friends and family, who were excited to cheer them on to victory. Heading into Tuesday's game, Quinn said her girls were very excited to be playing at home in front of their fans.
"High school girls in general like to be supported," she said. "And I think we're developing a fan base that's pretty loyal. It's fun. I always know that they're going to be ready to play at home."
McKinney Boyd's volleyball team consists of 11 juniors, including Kaley Seaber, Brantlee Reid, and Megan Mollett. Like last year's team, this current squad also features four senior players - Maddie Burleson, Drew Darling, Brittany Phelan, and Ally Cobb. In previous seasons, there have been times when juniors and seniors have clashed and that has led to fighting and arguing. According to Quinn, that problem does not exist within this current group of players because her four seniors have done such a good job of leading the team.
"They're definitely looked up to," she said. "Sometimes the underclassmen fight with the upperclassmen. But I truly feel like the juniors respect the seniors this year and it's good to have that on the court."
If you were to visit the 'McKinney Boyd Volleyball' Facebook page you would see a post from Tuesday that enthusiastically states that the Lady Broncos are ranked fifth in the state. In a recent Texas Girls Coaches Association poll, the Southlake Carroll Dragons were named the No. 1 team in Texas followed by College Park, Cypress Woods, Austin Westlake, and McKinney Boyd. The Lady Broncos are ranked ahead of such area teams as Hebron, Plano West, and Coppell. The Woodlands, which beat Boyd in last year's state title match, is ranked No. 10 on the list.
"It's not important," Quinn said of her team's current ranking. "It's not going to determine anything. But it's good for them to at least want to continue to be better."
Quinn went on to say that she's fine with her players keeping up with and being aware of the ranking but it's not information that she's going to update on a daily basis or share with her girls.
"I'm going to avoid or deny that it's there," she said. "It could be used as a motivational tool or a distraction."
McKinney Boyd faces Allen on the road Friday at 6:30 p.m.
-Joe Arriola, TownSquareBuzz.com