Kitty Kats show their claws

Nov. 5, 2012 at 5:05 a.m.

From left, Caitlin Seifert and Sam Niemeier jump to block the ball during practice in Yorktown.

From left, Caitlin Seifert and Sam Niemeier jump to block the ball during practice in Yorktown.

YORKTOWN - It's been said that if one comes to Jesus things will change. The same may be said about the Yorktown volleyball program after what the girls described as a Come to Jesus meeting earlier this year.

At the time, the Kitty Kats were not playing well. The meeting, which according to senior outside hitter Ashlynn Sievers, took place after a tournament match in Aransas Pass, helped the team refocus.

"We were not doing well at all," Sievers recalls. "Coach was beyond mad at us. We were mad at ourselves. So coach takes us out to their track."

"Because we lost, again," interjects junior outside hitter Sam Niemeier.

"She ran us, ran us and ran us and we had to tell her what was wrong with our team - while we were running," Sievers continued. "Then the coaches left us. We all sat down on the track, in a group, and we had a Come to Jesus meeting. .Ever since that Come to Jesus meeting, we haven't lost since."

Yorktown (24-9) has won 20 straight matches entering Tuesday's Class 1A regional semifinal match against San Perlita at 6:30 p.m. at Shiner High.

Not bad for a team that started the season with five straight losses.

Yorktown is in the playoffs for the 19th straight year. Tuesday's match will be the eighth straight year the Kitty Kats have advanced to the regional quarterfinals.

Senior middle blocker, Caitlin Siefert, who is two weeks away from her 18th birthday and also the Yorktown's oldest player, wasn't born the last time the Kitty Kats missed the playoffs in 1993.

In that period of success, no team has qualified for the state tournament. A 2008 regional final loss to Shiner was the closest any Yorktown team has come to qualifying.

Though many on the 2012 team set making the state tournament as an early-season goal, none of them are thinking about that now.

Saturday's sweep over Corpus Christi London opened the Kitty Kats' eyes to the consequences of underestimating an opponent. Yorktown comfortably won the first game 25-12, but struggled at times in the final two games because they relented long enough for its opponent to make things interesting.

Middle blocker Caitlin Seifert said she could see some teammates flustered in Saturday's area round win, but she, and others, reminded them that "it's just another game" and to remain focused on the task at hand.

The same applies to Tuesday's contest.

"You don't want to embarrass yourself and think about state and go out there and lose (Tuesday)," said Seifert, one of two seniors on the team.

"If you go out there and think about state you're not even worried about the other team," Sievers said. "As I said earlier, they might sneak up on you and beat you. So you have to be worried about them."

Worried may be too strong a word when it comes to Yorktown's approach Tuesday night. Head coach Deidre Alexander stressed in Monday's practice that she wants her girls to play their game.

Niemeier, Yorktown's leading attacker, said the 2012 team is exceptionally close on the court and in their faith. That assurance allows them to go out and have fun when they take the court.

Many of the girls are involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Moments after Monday's practice most of the team was off to a FCA meeting, fitting because it was a Come to Jesus meeting that saved a season on the brink.



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