Photos by Joe Wylie, Tanya McKenzie & Veronica McLennan
The Bowie volleyball team started the season with an emotional tournament win and then went on a deep run in the UIL 6A Playoffs. Along the way, the Bulldogs won 40 games — the most in school history.
In August, the Bulldogs beat out a 38-team field to win the 3rd Annual AISD Jason Landers Memorial Tournament. The win was an emotional one. The tournament is named after a former Bowie volleyball coach, Jason Landers, who passed away in 2014 after battling cancer. Landers’ wife and three daughters were there to witness the Dawgs’ championship match.
“It was an emotional win,” said Coach Miguel Saenz. “The seniors had been with Coach Landers their first two years. Winning the tournament put us on the right foot for the season. It showed what we were capable of achieving.”
The Bulldogs then went on to win the bronze bracket of the Fraulein Volleyfest Tournament in New Braunfels and finished 5–4 at the Volleypalooza event in Cedar Park. Bowie then went undefeated in district play to capture the 14-6A District Championship.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs dropped their first set to Cedar Ridge, but won the next three to win the match. In area play, Bowie was matched up against Klein. The first set was tight, but the Bulldogs won it, 26-24. Bowie won the next two sets to take the match and move on to the third round, equaling their longest run in the playoffs.
The Dawgs faced familiar foe, Westwood, in the area round. The Warriors had beaten the Bulldogs twice earlier in the season and once again, Westwood proved too strong. The Dawgs fell in three tough sets to end their 2016 campaign at 40–10.
“This was a turnaround season for the program,” said Saenz. “We learned how to win. Our girls now believe we can win and have big success in the playoffs.”
Sabrina Bianco, Ellie Crosley, Skyler James, Keara McGraw and Avery McKenzie were named to the 14-6A All-District team. Alicia Gonzalez and Alex McLennan made the second team.