After making the state volleyball tournament for the first time in 45 years last season, the Neches Lady Tigers must have enjoyed it because they are back for more.

For the second straight year the Lady Tigers are at the state tourney and will get a chance to defend their 2018 title. Also joining Neches is the Carthage Lady Bulldogs.

The UIL Tournament is scheduled to begin Wednesday and continue through Saturday at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Neches (39-5) gets things going at 11 a.m. Wednesday with a Class 1A semifinal against Blum (30-14). The other semifinal has Water Valley (31-12) meeting Round Top-Carmine (21-11) at 1 p.m.

The semifinal winners advance to the state championship match, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

This is the third visit to state for the Lady Tigers. Morgan Roberson is the head coach and the assistant is Trent Cook.

Neches team members include: 5-7 junior Emily Hill; 5-1 sophomore Mallory Main; 5-5 senior Madison Catchot; 5-2 junior Nayeli Quistian; 5-11 sophomore Kourtney Mannix; 5-7 freshman Emily Docteur; 5-10 junior Lexi Rogers; 5-10 junior Kacie Kimbrough; and 5-8 junior Raegan Hill. Support staff include: manager Gabby Blackmon and video Kinsley Gordon.

Kimbrough was the tournament Most Valuable Player in 2018 and was joined on the all-tournament team by Hill and Rogers.

Blum is making its second state appearance, while it is the eighth trip for Water Valley and the 21st for Round Top-Carmine.

Carthage (41-4) is in the Class 4A tournament and will play Hereford (34-14) at 5 p.m. Thursday. The other semifinal has Lamar Fulshear (43-4) taking on Kennedale (36-7) at 7 p.m. The semifinal winners advance to the state finals at 1 p.m. Saturday.

This is the second state tournament appearance for Carthage, the first coming in 2003. Dawn Stewart is the head coach of the Lady Bulldogs. Assistants are Lauren Dalton, Liz Owens and Ashley Smith.

Team members include: 6-0 sophomore Faith Kruebbe; 5-9 sophomore Sadie Smith; 5-9 senior Kristen Stewart; 5-5 junior Kennedy Stanley; 5-0 senior Chesney Baker; 5-6 junior Crosbey Beatty; 5-9 senior McKenna Zett; 5-10 senior Kinsey King; 5-6 senior Addison Surratt; 5-8 junior Caroline Baldree; 5-10 junior Kaliyah Timmons; 5-10 sophomore Makhai Lewis; 5-10 senior Jada McLin; 6-0 senior Cami Hicks and 5-6 junior Marissa Harrison. Support staff include: manager Shelbeigh Nealy and athletic trainer Derek Reed.

This is the ninth state appearance for Hereford, while it is the first bid for Lamar Fulshear and Kennedale.

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The 2019 UIL Volleyball State Championships will be held Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 20-23, at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Class 1A Semifinals

Neches (39-5) vs. Blum (30-14), 11 a.m.

Water Valley (31-12) vs. Round Top-Carmine (21-11), 1 p.m.

Class 2A Semifinals

Crawford (47-4) vs. Burton (34-15), 3 p.m.

Jewett Leon (42-5) vs. Wink (40-5), 5 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 21

Class 3A Semifinals

Bushland (46-1) vs. Vanderbilt Industrial (36-11), 11 a.m.

Van Alstyne (36-4) vs. Lexington (34-13), 1 p.m.

Class 1A Final, 3 p.m.

Class 4A Semifinals

Carthage (41-4) vs. Hereford (34-14), 5 p.m.

Lamar Fulshear (43-4) vs. Kennedale (36-7), 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 22

Class 5A Semifinals

Canyon Randall (42-3) vs. San Antonio Alamo Heights (35-9), 11 a.m.

Lucas Lovejoy (46-5) vs. Friendswood (34-17), 1 p.m.

Class 2A Final, 3 p.m.

Class 6A Semifinals

Trophy Club Byron Nelson (48-2) vs. Schertz Clemens (44-4), 5 p.m.

Fort Bend Ridge Point (46-4) vs. Plano West (39-5), 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23

Finals

Class 3A Final, 11 a.m.

Class 4A Final, 1 p.m.

Class 5A Final, 3 p.m.

Class 6A Final, 5 p.m.

TWITTER: @PhilHicksETFS

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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