By Allen Hamrick
The Lady Mustangs have brought the CWVAC Volleyball Championship trophy back to CCMS. If you ever look the definition of teamwork up in the dictionary, it would have just one phrase, “the Lady Mustangs volleyball team.” If you are one of those people that think that watching middle school volleyball is like watching cattle graze, you obviously haven’t watched the Lady Mustangs or any other team in the tournament.
The top four middle schools in the region played their guts out to see who would be at the top of the elite four. The Lady Mustangs toppled Summersville on Friday night to advance to the finals against the powerhouse Geary Lady Panthers. Summersville Lady Bears and the Spencer Lady Yellow Jackets played for 3rd and 4th with the Lady Bears coming out on top of that matchup. Then it was time for the championship game.
I believe it has been a while since the championship trophy has been in the great halls of CCMS, and the Lady Mustangs have brought it back in style. All season they have put up with schedule changes and their season has been a roller coaster for sure but, the team has silently, methodically and without a lot of fan fireworks took apart any team that has faced them. They did it with kills, some of which had enough zip to knock a small building down. Rylee Burkhamer’s kills were more like watching a framing nailer drive nails; simply put, they were not returnable. They also did it with finesse on the net and never letting a ball touch the ground without hitting the floor digging for it. Every one of the Lady Mustangs, at one time or another, was hitting the floor saving points. Serving the ball looked more like bullets finding dead center. Gracey Champ, Jalynn Robinson and Gracie Johnson each had some of their serves so fast and furious that there was no reaction time for the other team.
Every one of the girls did a great job and made the last game of their season one to remember. It was full of every emotion that a championship game entails – nail biting action and intense volleys that kept the fans on the edge of their seats. It was like watching a clock work when they played with each girl playing their part one hundred percent. There were no big I’s and little yous, they were equal and that’s why they are champions.
The Lady Panthers of Geary put up a dog fight in the first game with the lead going back and forth, but in the end it was Geary beating the Lady Mustangs 24-26; this game served as a wakeup call for the Lady Mustangs. After a pep talk by new head coach Danielle Champ, the Lady Mustangs came out and dominated the second game and won the match at 25 – 16. It was time for the final game, the noise was deafening as the fans and the teams stretched their lungs in a final push to take home the title. It was a game just like you would expect from two championship teams. The fight was on, and it went point for agonizing point as each team took their turn at the top of the hill. It was close with the game at a feverish pitch as each team stood at 23 points, just two points from the win. Up steps Gracie Johnson for her shot at fame as she prepared to serve. Gracie, under extreme pressure, served two unforgettable serves that were not returnable, and the Lady Mustangs won the game and the CWVAC Championship.
Coaches Danielle Champ and Alicia Johnson did an outstanding job and should be commended for getting these ladies prepared not only physically but mentally as well. The Lady Mustangs faced some tough teams in the regular season and once again at the championship tournament. If these girls can stay together as a team, I have no doubts that they could become CCHS State Champions. They are just that good and will only get better.
Receiving All Conference for outstanding play was Gracey Champ and Gracie Johnson. All Tournament awards went to Rylee Burkhamer and Gracey Champ. Congratulations to the Lady Mustangs on their championship season!