Aug

26

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 26, 2016

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By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Two lake area rivals squared off Tuesday evening in Panther Gymnasium for a volleyball showdown for all the bragging rights. When the dust settled, Mabank were victors over Kemp in four sets to take the match win.
Although Mabank won the match by scores of 25-15, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-11; the big takeaway from the evening was the vast improvement of the Kemp squad since last year.
“I think Kemp has improved tremendously,” Mabank Head Coach Stacy Shelton said. “They really kept us on our toes in the second and third sets.”
Kemp Head Coach Mike Hill reported that, according to a conversation between him and Coach Shelton, it was the first time since 2000 that Kemp took a set off Mabank in volleyball.
Mabank stormed out of the gate in game one, gathering a 7-0 lead before Kemp got on the board. The Lady Panthers increased the lead to 19-5 before Kemp managed a nice rally and momentum swing to bring the score to 24-15. Mabank won the set 25-15.
Game two saw immediate improvement from the Lady Yellowjackets. Kemp led the majority of the match and sprung out to a 11-6 lead before Mabank began clawing back in the game. The Lady Panthers eventually equalized the score 13-13 and 15-15 before taking the lead for good 17-16. Mabank won the match 25-20.
Kemp finally got a set victory in game three, 26-24 before Mabank nailed the hammer in the coffin with a game four 25-11 win.
Both teams used the game to help gear up for weekend tournaments. Mabank’s record improves to 9-6 and will be playing in the Tyler Invitational this weekend. Kemp’s record drops to 4-5 and travels to the Edgewood Tournament.
“We have a really tough tournament this weekend and will see some great teams,” Shelton said. “We need to be able to play with the big guns to help us prepare for district play.”
Kylan Watters led the way for Kemp’s defense with 30 digs, followed by Evelyn Mirele’s 22. Carley Delaney scored two aces and Watters had one. Alicia Dennis led the offense with six kills.
Stats were not available for the Lady Panthers.
In other action, the Lady Panthers freshman volleyball team defeated Kemp’s JV squad.

Aug

26

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 26, 2016

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Kemp varsity volleyball team is led by a pair of returning senior co-captains, who are determined to improve their team and themselves.
When Sarah Farley and Hannah Hosch suit up with the Lady ’Jackets this season, they are the only returning upperclassmen and two of four returning players on the entire team. Last year’s team missed the playoffs and didn’t perform well down the stretch. Farley and Hosch say will work hard to make sure Kemp continues to improve all year.
While the ’Lady Jackets play in a heavily competitive district, there are sure signs that things will be better this year.
“There is lots of team chemistry this year,” Hosch said. “Last year the team was divided and had some personality conflicts, but this year we are team building and becoming friends.”
At times the entire volleyball team can be found huddled in new Head Coach Mike Hill’s office, smiling, laughing, and watching film. That’s a good sign for team cohesion.
“We want to be better than we were last year,” Farley said. “We want to exceed our previous results. Last year we kept making the same mistakes over and over and didn’t improve much. This year we are trying new things and our defense and offensive hitting is getting better.
It’s been a long ride for both Farley and Hosch, who have been playing with each other since seventh grade. Both of them are entering their third year on the varsity squad.
“It’s great to have teammates you know well and have been playing with for a while,” Farley said. “We’ve got each other’s backs.”
Both seniors have made some changes to their position this year. Farley played libero last year and mow moves to the outside hitter position; while Hosch was the primary setter in years past and now spends her time as a middle hitter.
Both seniors say coach Hill and summer workouts have helped them tremendously.
“Summer workouts have done a lot to help my vertical,” Hosch said. A high vertical is important for hitting the ball straight to the ground for cleans kills.
They say things are different under coach Hill.
“We like that he has lots of coaching experience,” Farley said. “He’s learned stuff from all over the world and over a long time. We’ve had some fun team bonding with him. It’s been a lot of fun so far.”
Things are much different than last year. We like that he (Hill) has lots of coaching experience. He’s learning stuff from all over the place and that’s great.

Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2016

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By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Yellowjackets are back in the winner’s circle after claiming their first playoff berth since 2008.
“It felt good to make the playoffs last year,” said Head Coach Branson Hankins. “It felt good for the program and for the community. Now that the kids got a taste of the playoffs, they will be wanting more.”
The success brings a feeling of optimism that the Kemp football program hasn’t had in a long time.
“It’s a different feel around here,” Hankins said. “In the past we didn’t always know what we had, but now I know what we have in our kids and what they bring to the table. We are confident and we are hungry.”
The Yellowjackets will be channeling that hunger against a new set of district rivals. This year Kemp faces off against Sunnyvale, Scurry-Rosser, Dallas Madison, Grandview, Palmer and Maypearl. Gone are top-ranked Malakoff and Teague, and local rival Eustace. The move suits Hankins coaching staff just fine.
“We go back to the Dallas-area schools this time around and it fits us well,” he said. “We don’t have to travel as far and we like that.”
Top returning starters for Kemp this year are Elijiah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington, Kane Johnson, Dreyson Watters and Tyler Garrett. Big move-ins include Caleb Bolin and Taylor Little.
“We have a lot of guys that are helping us out and we’re excited about that,” Hankins said. “Some of the new players that came in from out of town will help us out, as well as the kids that have been here for four years. It’s a great vibe around here.”
Kemp will run a spread offense again this year with a 4-2-5 defense (four lineman, two linebackers and five in the secondary for pass defense). “It fits our kids and our personnel,” he said.
The ’Jackets hope to get prepared for district competition by facing preseason opponents Rio Vista, Mabank and Rice.
Hankins said the first few games of the season are pivotal even if they don’t count the district standings.
“It’s important to win some games right away and compete,” he said. “We know we have a lot to prove and we are excited to get out there and make it happen. When we strap on the pads we always want to win and improve each week. Staying healthy is important. If you’re not healthy in 2A or 3A football, it hurts with the numbers. We have some good depth now so we are going to get better and roll into district strong.”