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For the first time since 2010, the Elida girls volleyball team won’t enter the state volleyball tournament as the defending state champ.

“We’re not the number one ranked team right now and so that’s got a little monkey off our back,” said head coach Darrell Chenault.  “So that’s got us hungrier in a different way this year.”

Last season the Tigers were going for their eighth straight state title, but they lost to Melrose in the championship.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” explained senior Sadei Chenault. “It hurt really, really bad actually.  Last year you could see how different we are.  Last year we were big hitters, big blocks.  This year we’re super scrappy.  Nothing hits the floor, we hit the floor before the ball hits the floor.”

“We fight harder than anybody,” said senior Madison Ferguson.  “I can tell you that we practice like we’re going to play the state championship the next day.  We practice like perfection, we practice to perfection. We have that drive to get there.”

“We do frogs and lunges and five-minute runs and the whole time you’re just looking up at the banners and you’re looking at your team and you’re saying ‘this year’s going to be different and this year’ we’re going to work harder and we’re going to be smarter’, said Sadei. “This team battles because of what happened last year.”

The 2018 version of Elida is a little different than the ones in years past.  For starters, they had to rally just to get bodies on the floor.

“We started out with seven and then we jumped up to a whopping eight,” said the head coach who is now on his 18thyear. “I had a girl that had never played, she came out for us and then we moved up some eighth-grade girls and that’s rounding out our team.  We’ve got nine now.”

“If you get down on yourself you have to pick yourself back up,” said Sadei. “It’s not a fact we can sub you, it’s a fact of you have to build yourself and that’s what this team did. We continued to build and build and build until finally we are all working together and it’s awesome.”

We’ll see if they can get back to hanging up banners.  A champ will be crowned on Saturday.  The Rudy’s Real Texas Bar-B-Q State Volleyball Championships start on Thursday with pool play.


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