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With the success the Grant County volleyball team has enjoyed this year, they had hoped to continue winning in the district tournament.
Unfortunately for the Lady Braves, Gallatin County ended their run, defeating Grant County in two games. Grant County led early in both games, but still lost 25-18 and 25-22.
“It’s bittersweet,” coach Kelli Lee said. “Bitter because we should have won. Sweet because we have a 14-13 record and this program hasn’t had a winning season since 1999. We’ve accomplished a lot this year and the girls have come a long way.”
The Lady Braves tried to comeback in the second game, but just couldn’t put enough plays together to even up the match.
“I think we played hard, but we let them hit our holes,” senior Kelli Noel said. “We beat ourselves down after every mistake. This team grew a lot over the season and improved our skills as a team.”
“We definitely didn’t play as well as we could have,” senior Natalie Owings said. “A lot of it was the stress of districts and the fact that we didn’t play our game. We played not to lose, instead of playing to win. But this season was the first time we’ve experienced a winning season, so that’s a positive. Nobody wants to end with a loss, but when you look at the season, we’ve come so far. To have a winning season in coach’s first year, that’s a big step forward for the program.”
Lee believes that the team will return a lot of players that will help the program, but will also miss this senior class.
“Paige Elliot, Rachel Kitchens, Dawn Plunkett, Katie Gregg and Catie Prather will return and will be players to watch,” Lee said. “But I’m very proud of this senior class. They welcomed me with open arms. Usually a new coach with as many changes as we have had finds seniors that are resistant to change, but they were here six days early for camp. They’ve helped us improve and overcome so many barriers. I couldn’t be prouder of these girls.”
Although their season ended earlier than they had expected, they can still look at the year as a success.
“This team has learned to never give up,” Lee said. “They’ve showed mental toughness and have fought. It’s a successful year. They’ve got a lot to be proud of. I know they’re upset, I’m upset, but it will make us stronger in the end. This program has grown and this is a year we can look back on and be proud of.”
Gallatin County will play Williamstown on Oct. 14 and the Lady Demons know they have to work hard to come away with a win.
“We’re getting prepared to play,” coach Kim Anglin said. “We’ve been working hard everyday, getting ready for the postseason.”
“I’m really excited,” junior Tori Wilhoit said. “When we played Gallatin County at their place, we played them close and our team has improved since then. It would mean a whole lot to win. We need to show teams that we can compete. It would be great for the seniors. We’re trying to win for them and show that we can do it. Every team wants to win their last game. Hopefully we can win in districts and build for next year.”