Monthly archive

September 2019

BATTLING THE BEST: State-ranked West hands Lady Cubs defeat

in Volleyball

GRANDVIEW – Forced to face two of the best Class 3A teams in the state back-to-back, the Clifton Lady Cubs found out where they want to be as the 12th-ranked West Lady Trojans prevailed in straight sets in a District 17-3A clash Tuesday at Clifton High School Gymnasium.

 “West was a very good team defensively and offensively,” said Clifton volleyball’s head coach Paige Poth with the Lady Cubs coming off a hard-fought loss to eighth-ranked Maypearl last week. “As a team, we kept our errors to a minimum. But we needed to put a ball away offensively, and put up more block defensively.

After West (4-0 in district, 28-4 overall) posted a dominating 25-5 victory in the first set, the Lady Cubs (2-2, 15-14) bounced back and battled before falling 25-17 in the second set. The Lady Trojans took control in the third set to put Clifton away, 25-12.

“We had a number of good rallies that we ended up winning, and I was happy with the girls finishing those plays and winning them. We just have to come out very strong and fight to the finish.”

Now, the Lady Cubs will attempt to halt their two-game skid when they travel to Grandview today to take on the Lady Zebras (1-3, 14-11) at 4:30 p.m.

“As for Grandview, we have to again refocus and make this game a priority over any other as of right now,” Poth said. “Practice has to be the place we fix what needs to be fixed and move forward and get out there and play our best game.”

The power-packed District 17-3A will also feature a showdown between co-leaders as West visits eighth-ranked Maypearl (4-0 in district, 25-6 overall). In other district action, Keene (1-3, 3-13) plays at Whitney (3-1, 24-10), and Harmony Science Academy (0-4) travels to Rio Vista (1-3, 11-12).

“I honestly believe that the district will be a fight to the finish,” Poth said. “I think every team will match up and put up a good fight. We have to keep the mentality that the next game, whoever our opponent is, is the most important game.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON GURUS: Week 5

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

ROUGH RUNNING: Meridian boys & girls battle course in Glen Rose

in Cross Country

GLEN ROSE – Battling rough running conditions at Dinosaur Valley Park last Wednesday, senior Dakota Cassidy led the Meridian Lady Jacket cross country team to a fourth place finish at the Glen Rose Invitational.

Cassidy placed eighth individually as the Lady Jackets crossed the finish line with 135 points, besting host Glen Rose, but finishing behind meet champion Godley (43), runner-up Mildred (98) and Granbury (106).

Despite the strong showing, Meridian cross country head coach Jill Kendall expressed her displeasure with the meet as the Lady Jackets turned their attention to competing in the Priddy Invitational at the Beaumont Ranch in Grandview today at 1 p.m.

“I was not pleased with the course layout at Glen Rose,” Kendall said. “There were lots of issues with spectators being in the way of runners, blocking running paths, wrong turns taken, etc. Our times are not reflective of what we are capable of running due to some of those issues.”

Behind Cassidy, junior Norah Lira finished in 29th place, followed by senior Mallory Paruszewski (30th),  freshman Cambree White (38th) and senior Reese Errington (48th).

In the Junior Varsity Division, sophomore Braislee White placed seventh, followed by junior Faith Paruszewski (18th), freshman Meryl Roberson (19th) and sophomore Haley Creech (21st). Meridian eighth grader Daylyn Cassidy captured the bronze medal in the Junior High Division.

Although not competing as a team, the Meridian varsity boys were led by its trio of seniors, De’Marius Parks (84th), Zak Dirske (85th) and Cody Warren (89th).

“I am super proud of how everyone fought through their races,” Kendall said. “And I look forward to a better ran meet next week in Priddy.”

Photos courtesy of JILL KENDALL & BECKY PARUSZEWSKI

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

OH SO CLOSE: Lady Cubs fall short against eighth-ranked Maypearl

in Volleyball

CLIFTON – Although the Clifton Lady Cub volleyball team saw their six-game winning streak snapped last Friday, it took the best District 17-3A — if not the state — has to offer to get the job done.

Despite going down in straight sets, the Lady Cubs gave Class 3A’s eighth-ranked Maypearl all it could handle as the Lady Panthers got by Clifton, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23, at the Clifton High School Gymnasium.

With junior Bailey Ledbetter providing a team-high 14 assists, sophomore Ava Anderson slammed home a game-high 13 kills while senior Audrey Anderson came up with 15 digs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome state-ranked Maypearl (3-0 in district, 24-6 overall). Sophomore Kamryn Zint contributed 11 digs, followed by Ledbetter with 10.

And what do the Lady Cubs get to do as an encore? Clifton turns its attention to West today, as the Lady Cubs (2-1, 15-13) host the 12th-ranked Lady Trojans (3-0, 27-4) at 5 p.m.

“Yes, we did play with Maypearl the entire time, and I was proud of us and our fight,” Clifton volleyball’s first-year head coach Paige Poth said. “We do get another shot playing them, and I think we will bounce back and be successful. Our main focus right now is West Tuesday night.”

Despite the loss to Maypearl, the Lady Cubs have gotten off to a strong start in the power-packed district, which also includes Whitney (3-0, 23-9), Grandview (1-2, 14-10), Rio Vista (0-3, 10-12), Keene (0-3, 2-13) and Harmony Science Academy (0-3).

“I honestly believe that the district will be a fight to the finish,” Poth said. “I think every team will match up and put up a good fight. I think we will do great things this season, and our focus right now is making the playoffs. And we have to keep the mentality that the next game, whoever our opponent is, is the most important game.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For Astros, agony of defeat leads to thrill of victory

in Commentary/Pro/College

We’ve come a long way, baby. And Houston, we definitely do not have a problem.


Returning to the MLB playoffs for the fourth time in the past five years, the Houston Astros captured the American League West championship for the third consecutive season Sunday. And in the process, the Astros posted their third straight 100-win season.


To grasp just how remarkable that feat happens to be, keep in mind that the Astros became only the sixth team in history to win at least 100 games in three years running, joining the 1929-31 Athletics, 1942-44 Cardinals, 1969-71 Orioles, 1997-99 Braves and 2002-04 Yankees.


And if the Astros finish the regular season with the best record in baseball, they will enter the postseason as the hands down favorites to win their second World Series in three years.


Pretty amazing, right? Now for the rest of the story.


For some, it’s still not easy to forget how Houston opened the same decade with back-to-back-to-back 100-loss seasons. That’s right, sports fans. As this decade began, Houston owned the monopoly on baseball misery.


In 2011, the Astros (56-106) posted their first 100-loss season in franchise history. Then in 2012, the Astros made it one loss worse (55-107) by posting the worst record in baseball. But the ultimate agony of defeat came in 2013 when Houston’s move to the American League ended with a 15-game losing streak and a franchise worst 51-111 record.


If you were a life-long Astros fan living through it, one had to wonder if this would ever end. Even back in the beginning, Houston’s decades of mediocrity were never this bad. And the glory days of the Killer Bs in the 1990s and early 2000s seemed very, very far away.


But then in just two seasons, the Astros were back in the MLB playoffs. In 2015, Houston surprised the baseball world by posting an 86-76 record and making the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Two more years later, the Astros were World Series champions for the first time in franchise history.


With that said, Astro fans are loving life right now, and it’s never been this good. This season marks the 13th time the Astros have made the postseason, including three years in a row. Houston only managed that once before, when the Astros and the Killer Bs — Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman — won three consecutive National League Central titles from 1997-99.


In fact, Houston has made the playoffs in four of five years since Astros manager AJ Hinch took over prior to the 2015 season. Over the last three seasons, the Astros have won more games than any other team in baseball.


But the process that built this formidable franchise began after Houston hired Jeff Luhnow, one of the smartest front-office guys in recent memory, in December 2011 after the first 100-loss season. But he didn’t come to Houston to become an instant savior. Luhnow’s process meant losing games at a record pace in the beginning to win later by trading good players to stockpile draft picks.


“You never get hardened to the point where you don’t feel every loss,” said Luhnow at the time. “It’s hard for the fans to understand that we suffer just as much as they do. While it’s painful to watch the team lose, ultimately the rewards are going to be there.”


Indeed. In this decade alone, the Astros have used first-round draft choices for players like George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman.


But that’s not all. Luhnow built a farm system strong enough to make the trade for Justin Verlander in the last minutes of August in 2017. He followed that up by bringing in Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 2018 offseason trade acquisition.


And let’s not forget this season’s trade deadline shocker when the Astros traded four prospects for two-time Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, putting together the MLB’s most lethal 1-2-3 starting pitcher trio heading into the playoffs.


“It’s a little crazy,” 2017 AL most valuable player and perennial all-star Jose Altuve said. “My first three years we lost 100 games, and now we’re one of the few teams that are winning three seasons in a row 100 games. I think we deserve it, because the way that we’ve been working hard as a team and as an organization, to be to this point is pretty cool. It’s pretty special for us.”


So special and so dominate that all-star third baseman Alex Bregman has a shot at challenging Mike Trout for the American League Most Valuable Player Award this season, either Verlander or Cole will walk away with the AL Cy Young Award, and Cuban Yonder Alvarez appears to have the AL Rookie Of The Year Award all wrapped up.


From the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory, Luhnow always believed the Astro way would prove to be the right way. There was nothing worse than being an Astros fan during the process. Now, there’s nothing better.
We’ve come a long way, baby.

SIX STRAIGHT: Lady Cubs extend win streak in marathon vs. Keene

in Volleyball

CLIFTON – Extending their winning streak to six straight, the Clifton Lady Cub volleyball team dramatically survived a five-set marathon to edge the Keene Lady Chargers, 3-2, on the road Tuesday night. With both teams taking turns winning, all five sets were decided by the minimum two points.

“It was quite a game,” Clifton volleyball’s first-year head coach Paige Poth said. “We would get runs, they would get runs. It was back and forth.”

Sophomore Ava Anderson led Clifton with 15 kills, followed by senior Josephine Burke and freshman Elizabeth Scott with six each. The Lady Cub (2-0 in district, 15-12 overall) win set up a showdown with Class 3A’s 10th-ranked Maypearl (2-0, 23-6) today at 4:30 p.m. at the Clifton High School Gymnasium.

With Clifton winning the first set, 27-25, Keene (0-2, 2-12) responded to take the second set, 26-24. The Lady Cubs battled back to capture the third set, 25-23, but the Lady Chargers hung on to escape with the fourth set, 25-23, to force the tiebreaker. Falling behind early, the Lady Cubs came back to win, 16-14.

“In that fifth set, we were down by a few points,” Poth said. “And after our timeout, we took a big run of points that ultimately won us the game. I was very impressed with our overall fight together, and the way we started and closed with a win.”

Led by senior Audrey Anderson with 60 digs and 29 service receptions, the Lady Cubs came up with 171 digs while dealing 40 assists and delivering 40 kills. Junior Bailey Ledbetter came up with 34 digs and led the Lady Cubs with 30 assists.

“Both sides had phenomenal defense,” Poth said. “Our girls totaled some incredible numbers. Our libero, Audrey Anderson, did a wonderful job adjusting to their offense quick and taking shots away from them that they were scoring on early in the game.”

The Lady Cubs have gotten off to a strong start in the power-packed district, which includes 13th-ranked West (2-0, 26-4), Whitney (2-0, 22-9), Grandview (0-2, 13-10), Rio Vista (0-2, 10-11) and Harmony Science Academy (0-2).

“I honestly believe that the district will be a fight to the finish,” Poth said. “I think every team will match up and put up a good fight. I think with our preseason and the competition we have faced this far has prepared us for our district, and we will do great things this season.

“Our focus right now is making the playoffs. And we have to keep the mentality that the next game, whoever our opponent is, is the most important game.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON GURUS: Week 4

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

RUNNING WILD: Lady Jackets claim second place in Bluebonnet Invite

in Cross Country

GLEN ROSE – With two championships and two runner-up plaques in the first four meets of the season, the Meridian Lady Jacket cross country team will be running for more today at the Glen Rose Invitational at Dinosaur Valley Park.

Last Wednesday, the Lady Jackets claimed second place behind defending Class 2A state champion San Saba at the Bluebonnet Invitational in Hico. Senior Dakota Cassidy medaled with a ninth place finish to lead the Lady Jackets, followed by senior Mallory Paruszewski (21st), junior Norah Lira (22nd), freshman Cambree White (25th) and senior Reese Errington (37th)

“The Varsity girls finished second behind state champs San Saba, but competed well, ” Meridian cross country head coach Jill Kendall said. “This was a strong meet. Dakota was the only one who medaled.”

Competing with a full five-man team for the second straight meet, the Meridian boys placed 10th, led by senior De’Marius Parks (42nd), followed by junior Garrett Murphy (49th), senior Zak Dirske (57th), senior Cody Warren (60th), and freshman John Pablo Bernal (73rd).

In the Junior Varsity Girls Division, junior Faith Paruszewski placed sixth and sophomore Haley Creech finished eighth as the Lady Jackets claimed the meet championship.Other JV girls finishing in the top 20 were freshman Meryl Roberson (15th) and sophomore Braislee White (17th). In the Junior High Girls Division, Daylyn Cassidy medaled in sixth place.

Photos courtesy of JILL KENDALL & BECKY PARUSZEWSKI

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

PRIMED & READY: Lady Cubs carry win streak into District 17-3A play

in Volleyball

KEENE – After opening District 17-3A competition last Friday with an overwhelming straight set victory over Waco Harmony Science Academy, the Clifton Lady Cub volleyball team will try to keep a five-game winning streak alive when they hit the road to take on Keene today at 5 p.m.

Senior Josephine Burke smashed six kills and service aces while Bailey Ledbetter contributed a team-high seven service aces and four kills to lead the Lady Cubs (1-0 in district, 14-12 overall) over Harmony, 25-4, 25-4, 25-7.

“It was a good way to open up district for us,” Clifton volleyball’s first-year head coach Paige Poth said. “We had a lot of good things to take from the game and a few things to fix and work on for this week’s games.”

Senior Audrey Anderson led the Lady Cubs with five digs and Ledbetter dished out a team-high 15 assists, while sophomore Ava Anderson contributed six service aces and freshman Elizabeth Scott hammered five kills.

“I was pleased with our movement of offense and defense,” Poth said. “But most of all, our focus in the game was really good. We started the game strong and finished strong – minimizing our errors. I was proud of the girls going in and playing their game, and focusing on what we need to focus on to better ourselves.”

The Lady Cubs will have their hands full in the power-packed district, which includes Class 3A’s 10th-ranked Maypearl (22-6), 13th-ranked West (25-4), Whitney (21-9), Grandview (13-8), Rio Vista (9-9) and Keene (2-11).

“I honestly believe that the district will be a fight to the finish,” Poth said. “I think every team will match up and put up a good fight. I think with our preseason and the competition we have faced this far has prepared us for our district, and we will do great things this season.

“Our focus right now is making the playoffs. And we have to keep the mentality that the next game, whoever our opponent is, is the most important game.”

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

GRIDIRON GURUS: Week 3

in Predictions

PUTTING IT ON THE LINE

Join Clifton head coach Chuck Caniford, Meridian head coach Wade Morton, local sports photographer David Harding and The Sports Buzz’ Brett Voss every Thursday as The Sports Buzz Gridiron Gurus pick their winners for the week’s upcoming college and pro football games involving teams that call Texas home.

In addition to picking the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, our panel will select games involving your favorite teams from the NCAA Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

Be sure to make your picks as well!

©2019 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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