The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Sports

December 19, 2013

H.S. Volleyball: Westwood's Mi'Kayla Benson, Neeli Hardison and Natali Muniz earn All-State honors

PALESTINE —

The Westwood Lady Panthers had a special year in volleyball this past season — ending it with ending a Regional appearance in the playoffs.

Along with making to that point in the playoffs, Westwood also dominated district play by going undefeated during the season.

Those accomplishments, as well as many others, could not have happened without the play of three All-Staters — Mi’Kayla Benson, who was named to the Class 2A All-State team along with Neeli Hardison and Natali Muniz, who were named to the first team Academic All-State squad.

Westwood coach Janae Evans said she is proud of her players’ accomplishments and recognitions and credits them for the hard work each player put forth.

“This year was extremely exciting,” Evans said. “I had some younger girls who stepped up and played well and then the girls who have been with me did an incredible job at leading the team in the right direction. These girls stayed very focused all throughout the season and that’s what helped us the most.

“For Westwood, this year was the first year that any team has gone to the Regional tournament, so it was a really big deal for the girls,” she added. “To do something that’s never been done at Westwood is great.

“We always said we wanted to make a name for Westwood volleyball and that’s definitely something that we were excited about doing this year.”

Evans said each girl brought something different to the team, starting with Benson.

“Mi’Kayla is an incredibly athletic person,” Evans said. “I remember as a freshman, her coming in, and I could just tell that she was starting to really love volleyball. She started playing club ball and she then stepped in a played a big role as a sophomore on varsity. She’s done an incredible job the past three years of doing what I ask her to do and working hard.

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