Photo by Gerald Castillo
SMDR Team of the Year: Texas State Volleyball
Karen Chisum has been at the wheel of the Texas State Volleyball program for 39 years. That’s 39 different teams, 39 different rosters, 39 different schedules, and 39 different ends to the season. But this year’s roster, schedule and end to the season stood out above them all.
The Bobcats started the season off on the wrong foot, failing to win a single set in their three-match debut at the Hampton Inn and Suites Waco North Baylor Invitational. The team bounced back, earning first place at the Creeds and Crests Classic at home and picking up a road win over Rice before falling again in a close sweep to No. 6 Texas on Sept. 6.
Texas State dropped its next game to No. 16 Kentucky, two days later, 3-1, but the Bobcats wouldn’t lose another match for eight weeks. The team racked up 17 straight wins, the longest streak for the program since 2000 and third-longest in school history.
The final victory of the streak, a sweep over Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 28, clinched the Sun Belt regular season title, Texas State’s first since moving to the conference in 2013. The Bobcats lost their next game to Arkansas on Nov. 2, 3-2, but closed out the regular season with two more wins to earn the No. 1 seed and byes in the first two round of the conference tournament.
The team bounced No. 4-seeded Little Rock in the semifinals on Nov. 17, 3-1, then swept No. 2-seeded Appalachian State in the final on Nov. 18 to take home its second Sun Belt tournament trophy, the first since 2013. The win gave Texas State an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and the champions were named a 2-seed in the Austin regional portion of the bracket.
The Bobcats went on to defeat Rice in the opening round of the big dance on Nov. 29, 3-1, advancing farther than any Texas State volleyball team had before.
The team’s journey finally came to an end on Nov. 29, as the Bobcats were swept by Texas in the second round of the tournament the next day. But this Texas State squad will go down as one of the all-time best in school history, making the the Daily Record’s Team of the Year.
Texas State Softball (43-16, 18-5 Sun Belt)
The Bobcats took first place at the FAU “Strike-Out Cancer” Tournament in February, defeated Texas in the Pink Out Breast Cancer Game, 2-1, at Bobcat Stadium on Apr. 11 and beat rival UTSA on two separate occasions. Texas State’s .783 winning percentage against Sun Belt opponents earned them the conference regular season title. The Bobcats went on to beat No. 21 Louisiana on May 12, 5-2, to win the Sun Belt tournament championship, its first since joining the conference and fourth overall.
The team received an automatic bid to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional. Texas State picked up an 8-4 win over Sacramento State on May 19, but were bounced by Fullerton State and No. 3-seeded UCLA.
Texas State Track and Field
Fresh off a 2017 Sun Belt cross country championship, the Texas State women’s team continued its dominance by winning the conference indoor and outdoor season titles to complete the triple crown. The Bobcats came up one point short in this year’s race to earn their second consecutive cross country league championship, tying for the closest finish in Sun Belt history.
The men’s side has a strong season as well, finishing third and second at the conference’s indoor and outdoor championships last season, respectively. The Bobcats ran for fifth place in this year’s cross country conference race.
Texas State Soccer
Though it ended with a bitter conclusion, the Bobcats had a sweet season for the most part. Texas State compiled a 3-5 record during the early portion of the year, then went unbeaten in conference play to win the Sun Belt regular season title with a 8-0-2 record and 26 conference points.
As the No. 1 seed, the team shutout No. 8-seeded Troy in the opening round of the league tournament, 1-0, then took No. 5-seeded South Alabama to penalty kicks, winning 1-1 (4-2). But the Bobcats couldn’t pull off the same feat against Little Rock in the Sun Belt championship, falling 6-5 on penalty kicks and missing out on the NCAA tournament.
Hill Country Christian Volleyball
The Lady Rams made a deep run in the TAPPS 1A playoffs this season. HCCS amassed a 29-14-2 record, going a perfect 10-0 in district play.
The team swept Alvin Living Stones Christian and Houston Family Christian in the first two round of the playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinals. The Lady Rams’ season came to an end when they fell to San Antonio Legacy Christian Academy on Nov. 3, 3-0.
San Marcos Softball
San Marcos made a playoff appearance for the sixth-straight season in 2018. The Lady Rattlers went 13-13 overall and were co-district champions with an 8-2 record in league play. They’ve finished second place or better in district every year since 2014.
The team concluded its season in a 2-0 series loss in the first round of the playoffs against Round Rock Stony Point on April 28.