When high school volleyball teams kick off their seasons in the coming days and weeks, several will begin their season with targets on their backs. Nearly two dozen teams will open the season with impressive winning streaks as a result of navigating their 2011 schedules to state titles without a loss.
Most notable is Papillion-LaVista South (Papillion, Neb.)
. Led by identical twin sisters Kadie Rolfzen
and Amber Rolfzen
, Papillion-LaVista South has won 82 straight games and back-to-back state titles.
MaxPreps named the Titans the top girls team in the United States in 2011
as they completed their second-straight 41-0 season. Can the streak continue? Led by the Rolfzen twins, who are members of the U.S. Junior National Team, don't bet against the Titans
With 82 straight wins under their belts and the Rolfzens in the lineup, the Titans are approaching the state record of 115, set by Scotus (Columbus, Neb.)
in 2004. Scotus, by the way, enters 2012 with a 30-match winning streak.
Texas State 4A champion Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
became the first Texas team to win 50 consecutive matches in a season and in the process won its second-straight state title, extended its winning streak to 57.
Can the streak continue? Can Lake Travis reload after losing eight Lady Cavaliers to college – all on scholarships. That list includes Sierra Patrick (Texas A&M), Kaci Eaton (North Texas), Cassie Wang (Washington University in St. Louis), Katy Beals (Washington), MacKenzie Mayo (Baylor), Piper Toler (TCU), Amy Neal (Texas) and Gabby Bienkowski (Great Falls University).
Lake Travis, which finished No. 2 in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Final 2011 rankings
, also moves up a classification to 5A, but coach Jennifer Kazmierski is looking forward to the challenges with optimism.
"We are young, but working extremely hard. We are looking forward to competing in 5A and know that we will have to work hard to play relentless defense and to run a fast offense," said Kazmierski.
The No. 3 team on MaxPreps final 2011 National rankings, Chaparral (Parker, Colo.)
, enters 2012 with a 53-game winning streak and back-to-back state titles. Coach T.R. Ellis isn't making any predictions, but says "we will be a great ballhandling team who knows how to win. We will surprise teams." Ellis says her team is led by four seniors who played in the state tourney last year and two very good outside hitters and two very good ballhandlers.
Two other unbeaten teams finished among the Top 50 in the final rankings: No. 25 Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.)
and No. 34 Punahou (Honolulu)
. Central Catholic won all 33 games in 2011. Add 23 straight to end the 2010 state-title winning season and CCHS has won 56 straight games. Punahou concluded its 2011 season unblemished in 15 games.Barnstable (Hyannis, Mass.)
rides into the 2012 season coming off a 23-0 state-title year in 2011. Not only has Barnstable collected 14 state titles in the last 20 years, but 10 of those teams have gone unbeaten. Coach Tom Turco has had two memorable stretches - teams that won a state title and didn't lose a match in 1995-1997 and from 2003-2006. Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
was 31-0 in 2011 and has won four straight 4A titles and at least 51 straight matches. And Kellam (Virginia Beach, Va.)
, has 48 straight wins after going 33-0 a year ago.
The national record for consecutive wins belongs to Sweet Home (Amherst, N.Y.)
, when the Panthers won 292 straight matches from 1978 to 1987.
Other unbeaten teams (15 or more wins) in 2011 include:Ione (Ore.)
, 22-0;Greely (Cumberland Center, Maine)
, 16-0;Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.)
, 19-0, 36 wins in a row;Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.)
, 25-0;Marlborough (Mass.)
, 23-0;Fergus (Lewistown, Mont.)
, 25-0;Scotus (Columbus, Neb.)
, 30-0;Gilford (N.H.)
, 18-0;Pojoaque Valley (Pojoaque, N.M.)
, 24-0;Exeter-West Greenwich (West Greenwich, R.I.)
, 26-0; Colville (Wash.)
, 20-0;West Valley (Yakima, Wash.)