State Champs Share Thoughts On The Journey (11/21/12)

I caught up with Coach Campbell, Coach Bevevino and several key players on this year’s Lady Bobcats Volleyball Team. They shared their thoughts on the State Match, as well as their journey. In reading this you will get a sense of the special bond that these girls developed over the years and their love and respect for each other. About their sense of pride in their accomplishment. About what it means to be a team.=
In their own words:

Coach Shari Campbell: “Well, I’m just really proud of them.  I think they have a lot, a lot, to be proud of, a 23-0 season. There’s not many teams that can say that they finished perfect. And today felt good. It was just nice and loose and having fun and it was just about celebrating us.

“Morgan Bailey had a match of her life. The whole way around, she just played awesome.”

Comparing today’s Championship game to the 5 game Western Championship: “What I think was neat we played less stressful. It was loose and we just played error free.

“I really think that Thursday night we grew up and we learned how to fight and how to not make mistakes. You saw that tonight, just different players believing in themselves and executing so smoothly. We didn’t score points for Williamson which is great to see.”

Morgan Bailey: “When we started off we really didn’t know anything about the team, so we were a little unsure about what was going to happen. We knew they had two good middles. And we just went into the game really confident. We started off with the first couple of points and just went from there.”
About her play: “You always try to play for your team. If you mess up, just ignore it and keep going.”

Hannah Wolf: “Today, basically, was a dream come true for all of us. We’ve been working on it for four years now. And I mean we really respect all the other teams. We never let up. We always kept pushing. Even though today was an easier game for us, it was still a dream come true.

I’ve been playing with these girls since 6th grade. So it was our year.

I think the GCC match was more stressful for me, ‘cause we knew the competition. The Eastern Division was a little less. I guess, better in the West. We came on strong against them (Williamson). We didn’t let up at all in the State Final Match. Winning the State Match was pretty awesome.”

About her injury: “I actually played really good today, surprisingly, for being out for five days without any practice. So I was pretty happy with my play, but I can only get better.”

Kate Fillman: “I just thought today, it really showed how our hard work paid off. We’ve been playing together for a lot of years. And it was finally just our time to win the Gold.

“We knew that coming into GCC’s game, we had to overcome that to get to the finals. And that was a big match, that we got over. Just being able to go to the finals for the 3rd time in a row and being able to know that we were going in there confident and strong and working as a team was very relaxing. We were very comfortable in the environment, so it was easy for us to just play our game.”

Gretchen Vandermeer: “I thought we played pretty well over all today. I thought today was a really relaxed atmosphere, after the game on Tuesday. ‘Cause that was very stressful and difficult. But today we just went in more relaxed and confident. And I think that we just knew that it was our time to win it all.”

Coach Erika Bevevino: “I thought our girls did a great job, this entire season. I knew that they were a special group when I got them in 7th grade. And I’ve been telling them for years that they  were going to do this and so just glad that they believe in that and were able to pull it out. Tuesday was so much more stressful. It’s so stressful to get back there, the pressure of just getting back to that game. And so I think that after Tuesday night, we really relaxed a lot. We were able to play pretty loose today.”

Bekah Nesbitt: (On how it felt getting the last serve in the State Championship Game) “It was awesome. Like all your hard work paid off. Like just finally finishing what you worked so hard for. It was awesome.”

Kyla Miles: (On getting the last touch for the Lady Cats) “It was just incredible knowing that like after all our hard work, it all paid off and that it all came through for us. And knowing that we got the State Title all together as one. So it was just a great feeling.”

(On going up against Williamson’s big Middles) “We knew that was their go to, so knowing that we could shut them down, it was just incredible, that we pulled together and worked together as a team.”

Matti Thornton: “Well the past years, when I was in 10th and 11th grade, we had the Silver Medal around our necks. That was kind of hard. But this year we finally got the Gold. It was our ultimate goal and we were so excited about it. I’m so thankful for my teammates and that we could just do this together. It was really a great experience.

(On having so many great serves) “My goal was to make every serve. Not make it too easy, but to make every serve. Because when you serve 100 percent, it’s very important to your teammates and if they can back you up, you just keep racking up more and more points. So it’s really important to me. I know, it’s been a goal of mine all year, to make every single serve. And it was just something that I want to do for my teammates. I’m so glad that they were able to back me up and I was able to help us win.”

And finally Ellie Burns capsulizes the journey.

Ellie Burns: “We started playing in, I’ll say 7th grade, J.O.’s traveling. We started out young. It was always us and we were all on JV’s. We went to Juniata JV Camp and we were able to win there. Ever since we were playing together, there was just a different attitude. Our group of girls, we were best friends.

“We were best friends and seniors. We were able to share the bond because we were together for so long. We knew exactly what the other was thinking. Every day up until the (GCC) game, we’d talk at the lunch table. ‘Who’s excited and who’s ready for this game, and the pressure just kind of built up. And it wasn’t a pressure like we couldn’t do it. It was like we could beat GCC. We played them early on in the season and we lost to them 25-17. Then we played them again that same day and we were able to win 25-17. So it was almost a draw. We didn’t know who was the better team.

“We were just confident in ourselves. After we lost the first two games, Coach Campbell said, ‘I’m not done coaching you yet. We knew this was our last go around. We didn’t want to stop playing we were playing since we were in 7th grade. We knew that we could do it and we’d been there before. Most of us were able to be on Varsity as freshmen and sophomores. So we’ve been there we know what it’s like to lose both games. After we won that GCC game, that moment, we knew we could do this. So after we won that GCC game, that was like that moment we knew we could do this. We got into that State Final game, knowing that we had beaten one of the best teams in the state. We had complete confidence, knowing that we are untouchable as “one,” as one team.

“After we won the first game 25-14, it gave us that confidence boost that we needed. And being able to win not just for our team but for the teams, in the past that have been there, who have worked hard. We won it for our parents who do so much work and time for us to be able to do what we do. We won it for our trainer, who helps us train all the time. And we won it for Coach for all the hours she puts in.

“It was almost a relieving feeling. It was like a closure. It was a good way to end our senior year, knowing all the hard work we put in since 7th grade. It paid off.”

And it did pay off as these girls can cherish this memory for the rest of their lives.