Heading into the final four last month after winning the district championship with a perfect record of 12-0, the Varsity volleyball team felt like it was the most difficult game of the season.
This tough game against Brentwood in San Antonio pitted the lady lions against the largest and toughest team in Texas and they knew it going in.
“We were very excited to qualify for the State Tournament and be one of the last four teams to continue post season play,” said Coach Sandy Kelm, varsity head coach, “We played them (Brentwood) point for point the first set until the last points… we did win a set against them which no other team in the play-offs did, including the team they played in the finals
This was no ordinary simple match-up.
“In the end, the Final Four should’ve been the State Championship!” said Senior Middle Hitter Shelby Thomas. “We played our hardest, I do think our mindsets before the game played a part in us losing.”
Varsity lost to Brentwood in the final four, but the reason they made it to the final four teams in 3A TAPPS, was because of their dedication and high expectations as reigning state champs.
“I felt like everybody other than Grace Prep wanted us to really have to work for the State title for another year and we were all prepared to,” said Thomas.
After playing a tough match in the Final Four, the Lady Lions ended up placing 3rd for State. In the first set, the score was 19-25, second 16-25, third 25-23 and fourth 12-25.
For the Final Four, all twelve players were present, and a new player added to the team from JV, Freshman Outside Hitter Kay Lee Sedwick joined Varsity for the seasons’ last few games.
Freshman Outside Hitter Claire Bullington said, “What I like most about volleyball is the passion God gave to me play with such amazing skill, and the sweetest girls every year!”
With Varsity being undefeated in District, winning 12 games, they had one game that was the most attended, although they were not in the Lady Lion’s District.
That memorable game was against Pantego, Grace Prep’s well known rivalry school. It was another win for the Lady Lions.
Crazed GPA fans dressed in pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness, some even wearing pink bunny suits. But despite the fans, the team focused on the prize.
“A highlight of my season was beating Pantego in 5,” said Junior Setter Payton Hall.
It was a hard battle, but the Lions pushed through with a victorious win in 5
This season boasted only three seniors; Thomas, Susannah Myers, and Riley Beason, so there were many newcomers to the team, including 4 freshman.
“Since we have so many new players on the team the expectations may not have been as high but this TEAM has played so well,” said Coach Kelm. “We have had a number of injuries and illness but they have managed to play through it all.”
Coach Kelm has been coaching here for 21 years, and well over 500 games.
“I am so proud of what this TEAM accomplished this season and every player became a better player as the season progressed.”
The players mutually respect their seasoned coach.
“My coach taught me to persevere through tough times and to always be confident with my head held high,” said Hall.
Hall had to learn the new position of setting for the first time this season. With challenges and changes, the ladies still won.
“We worked really hard and did our best,” said Hall.