THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Feb. 4, 2014 – The Woodlands High School was presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy at halftime of the boys’ basketball game on Tuesday. The honor is part of the fourth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions for Girls’ Volleyball presented by the Army National Guard and The Woodlands is one of just 10 schools being honored.
The Lady Highlanders finished ranked No. 1 in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 poll of its sportswriters. MaxPreps the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site. ranks more than 17,000 high school girls’ volleyball teams.
“Working with the Army National Guard, MaxPreps is delighted to honor Coach Madison and The Woodlands Lady Highlanders as one of nation’s elite high school girls’ volleyball teams,” said Andy Beal, President and Founder of MaxPreps. “We congratulate the coach, players and The Woodlands High Schoolfor a great season and earning the Army National Guard national ranking trophy.”
The Woodlands High School swept San Antonio Churchill 25-22, 26-24, 25-17 in the Class 5A state championship to win the state title. This is the team’s first state title. They finished the 2013 season with a perfect record of 45-0.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized by MaxPreps and to be in the company of these other great volleyball programs,” said The Woodlands head coach Leslie Madison. “The team worked really hard throughout the season and played unselfishly. They are deserving of all the accolades they have received.” Coach Madison was named TSWA Girls’ Volleyball All-State 5A Coach of the Year.
The Woodlands girls’ volleyball team had the perfect combination of experience, talent, and chemistry this season. With 9 returning players, two of which were four year starters, the Lady Highlanders were able to defeat previous state champions and 2013 MaxPreps Tour of Champions honoree, Coppell High School, at the Texas Invitational Tournament. Coach Madison credited this 2-1 victory as pivotal for solidifying the team’s confidence in their abilities.
The Lady Highlanders were led by senior setter Courtney Eckenrode, senior libero Kelly Quinn, senior outside hitter Madison McDaniel, and senior middle blocker Morgan Eason. Of the twelve players on their roster, seven have committed to playing volleyball at Division 1 schools, which includes Eckenrode (San Diego State), Quinn (Louisiana State University), McDaniel (Arizona State University), and Eason (Texas State University). Eckenrode, who had 1,189 assists on the season, was named All-American, All-USA Player of the Year, UIL Texas 5A State Tournament MVP, and All-State. Quinn, who boasted 674 digs, was named UIL State All Tournament Team, All-USA 2nd Team, and District 14-15A Defensive Player of the Year. McDaniel had 462 kills this year and was named also named UIL State All Tournament Team as well as District 14-15A 1st Team. Eason was named to the District 14 5A 2nd team and had 236 kills this year. Eckenrode, Quinn, McDaniel, and Eason were all named Academic All District.
Sergeant First Class Charles Dougherty of the Texas Army National Guard presented Coach Madison and the Lady Highlanders with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy at halftime of the boys’ basketball game on Tuesday.
“For over 375 years, the men and women of the National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need. As Citizen-Soldiers who serve part-time, we live and serve in more than 3,500 communities throughout the country,” said Major Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. “It is our privilege to honor and recognize nationally ranked volleyball teams with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy which includes the Minuteman statue, a symbol of the National Guard.”
MaxPreps uses an intricate computer program to determine team rank. Prior season history, school size, and comments on message boards are not considered in the MaxPreps rankings. The computer-based system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system also takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents) and strength of schedule. For example, a team’s ranking is hurt more by losing to a team that is ranked below them than to a team ranked ahead. Girls’ volleyball rankings are updated once a week.