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VYPE's Preseason Volleyball Top 20 -- No. 1 The Friendswood Mustangs
August 13, 2012By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - South Houston
The Friendswood Mustangs
Taking the Next Step
Coach: Kelly Beck
2011 Record: 45-5
Postseason: Fell to Foster in Regional Finals in Five Games
By Matt Malatesta
The Friendswood Mustangs are loaded for postseason run with the expectations of reaching the state tournament. Friendswood has reached the regional finals the past two years and is ready to shatter their glass ceiling.
"We know what it's like to get to the regional finals and we know what the pressure is like," coach Kelly Beck said. "Now our main goal is to win the region and get to the state tournament and we have experience on our side.
"It's all going to come down to how hard the girls want to work," she said. "I liked our mental game by the end of the season and if we carry that over this year, we should be really good."
Returning for Beck this season is a core of stars, headlined by senior Jill Bergeson, who has committed to Pepperdine.
"She's the cornerstone of our team, but he have a lot of other girls who are capable this year," Beck said. "We will depend on every player and that's going to take a lot of pressure off Jill this season. But she's outstanding. She's great at the net but she's probably one of the best defensive players in the area. She's our leader and can get the girls fired up."
Junior Harley Kelly received rave reviews for her play last season and also returns on the outside. The Oklahoma-commit plays with an even-keel and was playing her best ball during last season's playoff run.
Also up front is middle Shannon Ellis, who is headed to Georgetown in 2013.
"Shannon has one of the highest verticals I've ever seen," Beck said. "She has great lateral movement and can close out on blocks very well. She great in transitioning from defense to offense, which is sometimes tough for middles.
Mackenzie Frieden is Friendswood's defensive specialist, diving all over the court. Frieden is headed to Tulane.
"Mackenzie is so fiesty," Beck said. "She simply doesn't let the ball hit the floor. She a great communicator and the quarterback of our backcourt."
Returning at setter is Shelby Carter, who will be the staring distributor.
"Our young girls are going to contribute right away also," she said. "We had a tremendous junior varsity team and they will push to get into the rotation."
Can You Dig It?
It's all about attitude with this group. Coach Kelly Beck feels like she has the right chemistry to make a real run this year. Friendswood's underclassmen are talented as well, so watch out for several more playoff appearances. Beck can relate well with her players having played for state at Friendswood herself. She also starred at Texas A&M.