The high school volleyball postseason starts this week with four area teams being among the state’s elite.
Auburn, who finished the regular season unbeaten (15-0), reeled off wins after wins as they dominated Mt. Empire opponents, and the program is one of the tops in the entire state. Coach Eddie Maynard cites consistency as being the primary reason for their success.
“We returned our entire roster from a state quarter final team last season. They spent the off season playing and traveling together. Most of the players have been in this system three to four years now. This is the deepest roster I’ve coached in my 10th season of high school volleyball,” he said.
The golden ring and state title are definitely within Auburn’s reach.
“Certainly, we like our chances, but that’s no different than a lot of other teams. Most everyone’s goal this time of year is the same, we are just hoping to be the team that is able to reach theirs. There’s still four weeks and a lot of matches left if we can make it there, so the best thing we can do is just focus on the next one in front of us,” Maynard concluded.
Blacksburg finished the regular season with 15 wins and will be one of the top teams going into the Class 4D regional tournament this week.
Anabel Zier has been one of the players that has pushed the Bruins to do so well this season.
“We’ve been working hard all summer and regular season to try and focus on becoming more cohesive as a team and working on our individual skills to help bring them together to form a solid team on the court. We’ve put in a lot of work and I think that’s why our play on the court has been going better for us,” she said.
State is definitely in the minds of the Lady Bruins.
“I think we’ve been working really hard and states are definitely something that is a possibility in the future, but we’ll take it game by game and try to continue our level of play throughout the playoffs. Continue to work hard in practice as well to try and become better going forward to hopefully make a good run,” Zier said.
Radford is looking to another 2A title after putting together a 17-1 record. Coach Karen Adams attributes the Bobcats’ success to this point on their determination, desire and willingness to push themselves physically and mentally to the next level.
“The girls wanted it from day one but sometimes your image of how it’s going to be doesn’t match what it actually looks like. While we knew we had to continue to work on the skills of the game, the girls also focused on the mental aspect of the game including team bonding and self-awareness of what we each bring to the team. They have put in a lot of time and energy into their success,” Adams said.
The Radford program has been a regular in the state tournament over the past five years, and it remains their goal.
“Winning a state championship is definitely the end goal but we also know we have to stay focused on the task in front of us each day in order to make that happen. At this point in the season we know we have to stay mentally focused and can’t start thinking ahead just because we have won against opponents before. We were that team last year that took people by surprise so we know well the importance of every match. It’s one step at a time, one match at a time to reach that ultimate goal. For this week we focus on district tournament,” Adams said.
Meanwhile Christiansburg brings a 11-8 record to the playoffs after losses to several 4A teams in district play. If you eliminate those loses, the Blue Demons were 8-1 overall.
Coach Lisa Dalton said her players have been dedicated season after season to step up their game and learn to work together on the court.
“We have determined players that are setting a good example for our program. Each year we keep improving different parts of our game and things are continuing to come together. It’s nice to see,” she said.
Christiansburg will not have to worry about Blacksburg and could make a run deep in region and state play.