Poth Pirettes win school’s eighth state volleyball title
Poth Pirettes win school’s eighth state volleyball title.
SAN MARCOS -- This season was about redemption. It was about righting the wrongs of the past, and about taking back what they believe to be theirs. It was about avenging a single loss. It was about accepting nothing less for themselves than a state championship.
When it comes to volleyball, “winning” is more than a catch phrase in Poth -- it is an expectation. The players demand it of themselves, and feel less than satisfied with anything short of a state championship.
In 2010, the Pirettes advanced to the state tournament for the 12th time in school history. The team won its semifinal match, but then it lost in the finals. Most athletes would be thrilled at having reached the championship match, but not the Pirettes. And for the team members who returned for the 2011 season, it was a day that had haunted them for months.
“Never forget state 2010.” Those were the words written on a sign that hung inside the Pirette locker room. It was the first and last thing the girls looked at every day. It was their reason for working so hard. It was the focus of their entire season. Now, after having crushed Nocona for the state championship, the girls may feel ready to take that sign down.
After easily winning the Region IV title, the Pirettes advanced to their 13th state tournament appearance, and took to the floor Nov. 17 against the Lady Cougars of Jewett Leon. For Leon, it was the school’s 23rd appearance at the tournament, but that meant little to the Pirettes. To them, the Lady Cougars were just another team standing between them and their title.
In the first game of the match, the points and momentum flowed back and forth. The teams were tied at 3-3, 13-13, and even 20-20, before Poth put it away. Senior Kelsee Felux hammered down some thundering shots to help close things out, and the Pirettes picked up the game one win, 25-21.
Senior Jordan Kotara turned up the heat in the second game with Leon, making block after block to score points for the Pirettes. The Lady Cougars never really got rolling in the game, and Poth won easily, 25-13.
In the third game of the match, Poth made a number of errors, and Leon took advantage. The Lady Cougars felt the tide turn in their favor, and they quickened the pace of the match. The efforts paid dividends for Leon, and the Lady Cougars won the third set, 25-17.
The loss was the first for Poth during the playoffs, and fans waited to see how the Pirettes would react. With strong play at the net and big hits from Kotara and Avery Acker, the Pirettes jumped out to an 8-3 lead. Leon tried to get back in the match, but great play from junior Micah Weaver and senior Corin Nelson kept Poth in front. The Pirettes minimized their mistakes, and dominated at the net, giving them a 25-18 win, and a return trip to the championship match.
To the surprise of many, White Oak, the defending state champs, fell to the Nocona Lady Indians. That put Poth into the finals with a team most didn’t know very much about, but it didn’t matter to the Pirettes. With just one team to beat, they saw redemption in their future.
The two teams took to the court in Strahan Coliseum Nov. 19. The Lady Indians won the first point of game one, but that is as close as the team would get to a state title. Poth rattled off 6 points from there, and gave Nocona a taste of what they could expect. Acker and Kotara put up a wall at the net, and Felux came on heavy with big hitting from her position on the outside. The Pirettes made it look easy, as they won the first game by the score of 25-8.
In the second game, the Lady Indians were treated to more of the same. Poth came out swinging, and jumped out to a 7-1 lead. Nocona called a timeout with the score at 9-2, but the break did little to kill the Pirette momentum. Poth continued to score at will, and eventually won the second game by the score of 25-9.
Standing just one game away from the title they worked a year for, Poth maintained the pressure and stunned the Lady Indians by jumping out to a 6-0 lead. A service error gave Nocona its first point of the game, but the Pirettes made the Lady Indians pay from there, and jumped out to an 11-3 advantage. Nocona was able to mount a bit of a comeback, but never really threatened the Pirettes. Poth played solid volleyball throughout the remainder of the third game, and easily won, 25-12.
While Nocona players shed tears of sorrow, the Pirettes welcomed tears of joy. The victory gave Poth its eighth state championship, and gave the players the redemption they needed.
“I felt pretty good going into this one,” Head Coach Patti Zenner said after the victory. “They had their business faces on.”
The 25-8, 25-9, 25-12 victory was later identified as the most lopsided win since the teams began using rally scoring. Kotara, Felux, and Acker were each named to the all-tournament team, and Kotara was named as the MVP.
The Pirettes finish the season with an overall record of 44-9. They began their playoff run with the District 30-2A championship, and dropped only a single set during their run to the title.