2018 Lady Wildcats. Photo by Jeff Bargas.

The Lady Wildcats (26-12) will face 7-6A’s Cedar Hill in the first round of volleyball playoffs Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at Coppell High. Captain Brooke Bateman, a senior who began playing in third grade, says there’s no limit to where her squad, undefeated in district play, is headed.

“I think our team can go as far as our work ethic and energy wants us to go,” says Bateman. “We have to continue working during those 6 a.m. practices and fighting for every point on the court. As long as the drive and passion is there, this group of girls can accomplish anything.”

Bateman, who’s played over the years for Nitro, Skyline and Victory club teams, says she loves the connection the game builds between teammates and the number of relationships she’s made.

“With 6 players on the court at once, you have to work as a cohesive unit – playing individually won’t create a great outcome. After playing volleyball for 9 years the amount of friends I have made is crazy. I keep up with most of the girls I have played with, and the sport bonds us together in a special way.”

The toughest part of the game is mental, something many don’t understand, she says.

“Volleyball may seem to those who don’t play it as ‘3 touches over the net,’ but there are plays, connections, rotations and so much you have to prepare and know to play the game. Having a strong ‘volleyball IQ’ was something I learned early on and am thankful that I have. Keeping the energy and positivity on the court is all mental and is one of the most important parts of the game.”

If Lake Highlands wins Tuesday night, they’ll play the winner of Southlake Carroll (36-9) vs. Hebron (26-16). But can they win?

“We may not be the team that people look at and say ‘wow they’re big and scary,’ but when we play together, something clicks and I personally think people underestimate us.”

Pearce (22-15), second in District 8-6A, will play Mansfield Lake Ridge (35-11) at Irving MacArthur Tuesday at 6:30. If they win, they’ll face Trophy Club Byron Nelson (40-1), ranked first in the state.

You can see the full UIL playoff picture here.

Go Cats!