GARLAND — Beckville Volleyball Coach Cherry Downs has experienced this before.
Senior Kinsley Rivers has experienced this before.
Now not only do Downs and Rivers get to experience this feeling once again, a whole new group of stellar underclassmen volleyball players know the feeling also.
They are State Champions.
For the second time in four years Beckville was the top dogs, or in Beckville’s case the top cats in Class 2A.
Beckville swept Thrall 26-24, 25-23, 25-15 to capture their second Class 2A State title in four years Friday in at the Curtis Culwell Center.
“We are blessed to be No. 1 again,” Downs said. “Our team has worked hard, Kinsley has done a great job as our sole senior leader and we just got to watch all of the magic happen over the season.”
A magical season where the Ladycats didn’t drop a single five-set match all season.
Beckville (47-3) lost all three of their matches in tournaments and all to much bigger schools.
Beckville, which swept Crawford 25-20, 25-12, 26-24 on Wednesday, had to dig deep to pull out the first two sets before showing out in the third.
“Between Coach Downs and I we could try and keep the rest of the girls calm,” Rivers said. “I think we did a good job of that and they also did a good job of stepping up and playing like they should be playing. I was really proud of them.”
The Ladycats overcame a 23-20 deficit in the first set and trailed by as many as five at 14-9 in the second set.
Avery Morris was named 2A State Most Valuable Player. Morris had a double-double with 14 kills and 18 digs against Thrall.
Morris — who was fighting back tears upon receiving her MVP award — took no credit personally, instead credited her teammates.
“It feels great, I couldn’t do it without my team,” she said.
Morris along with Rivers, Amber Harris and Sophie Elliott all had double-doubles.
Rivers had 14 kills and 21 digs, Harris had 10 kills and 13 digs and Elliott dished out 41 assists and had 12 digs with a pair of kills.
MJ Liles had four kills, Laney Jones had eight digs and Karissa McDowell had six digs.
“The beginning of the season I knew that this team was going to be something special,” Rivers said. “We were going to do good things. We have been working together since club so there’s been a lot of time with us together and we have grown to be closer together. Us being a close team has a lot to do with it.”
Thrall (38-8) swept Wink 25-19, 25-21, 25-20 to reach their first-ever State title game.
The Tigerettes fought very hard and made the Ladycats dig very deep to pull out the first two sets.
“Thrall played an awesome game,” Downs said. “They served received well and put them in a good stance to run their offense. Kind of had us on our heels and played more defense than we would have liked.”
Melaina Grissom led Thrall with 13 kills and 19 digs, Mia Mollenberg had 10 kills and Aaliyah Couch had a team-high 18 digs.
The Tigerettes had very little fight after expending so much energy in the third set and Beckville jumped on them early in the third.
Behind Elliott’s serve, the Ladycats won the first five points and never looked back on their way to their second State title.
“We were up by a lot and I told them to keep focused,” Harris said. “We still have to play our game but we had to keep calm and play our game.”
Playing in a State title game for the second time was much easier for Downs this time around.
She said her first team in 2018 was super close as this year’s bunch that featured seven juniors and one sophomore before calling up two players from the junior varsity.
“It’s a lot more relaxing and enjoyable the second time,” Downs said. “It’s a very frantic atmosphere, there’s a lot to do for your kids and community. It’s so very worth it but coming in the second time I knew what to expect. We had a better feel for it, I know for me it was a calmer experience.”
An experience that sent the Beckville faithful into pandemonium after the matches final point. All the months of hard work in a season where Beckville won another undefeated District 20-2A title and one knocked off the previous year’s State champion who previously knocked them out of the postseason two years in a row.