2013: Volleyball

Published 11:01 pm Monday, December 30, 2013

Never has two letters, and one purposefully misspelled word provided inspiration for so many. But the 2013 Goshen volleyball team did just that.

The volleyball team at Goshen High School started the season known as the Lady Eagles, but after losing their beloved coach Dee Hughes in October, the team adopted the nickname LaDee Eagles and rolled all the way to the Regional tournament in Montgomery.

Goshen dominated opponents during the season, and lost only one set through its first nine games. The LaDee Eagles finished the regular season 16-0, with wins over 4A Charles Henderson along with 2A powers G.W. Long and Zion Chapel.

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Goshen advanced to the Regionals and knocked off Flomaton in straight sets to win advance to the next round. In the second round, Goshen met a familiar face, Zion Chapel. The LaDee Eagles went back and forth with the rival Rebels, but came up short.

It marked the second-consecutive season Goshen fell one win shy of advancing to the Super Regionals.

Despite the loss, Goshen head coach Amy Warrick said she was very proud of her team and is ready for another go at the field in 2014.

“These girls did an amazing job this year,” said Warrick. “We didn’t get our ultimate goal, but we will be back to try again. Coach Hughes taught us all to never give up and always do our best. She won’t be here on the sideline next year, but she will always be with us in our heart and mind. 2014 is our year.”

Pike Liberal Arts also turned in an outstanding season. The Lady Patriots cruised through the majority of the season, piling up a 16-3 record and lofty No. 3-ranking in the AL.com volleyball poll.

The Pike Lady Patriot volleyball team fell to Lee-Scott in straight sets (25-16, 25-13, 25-22) in the region tournament.

Coach Mendy Avant said the loss was heartbreaking for her team. “We had six seniors that I’ve raised since sixth grade,” Avant said. “They just couldn’t get over the hump. It was like tearing my heart out to see them lose.”

“It was a hard day today,” Avant said. “They worked hard and did everything right. These last four practices have been the best we’ve had. This group of girls will be truly missed.

The Troy Trojans pulled one of the biggest upsets in school history during the Sun Belt Championships in November.

The Trojans, the No. 8 seed for the tournament, defeated top-seeded Western Kentucky in straight sets in the tournament’s first round.

Troy coach Sonny Kirpatrick said the win was huge for his team.

“This is by far the biggest win in program history,” Kirkpatrick said. “Western Kentucky is a perennial top 30 team. We have never competed like this before. We had only beaten them one set in all the times we have played them until tonight. We stack ourselves against Western Kentucky to see where we are because they have been so dominant.”

Charles Henderson and Pike County each struggled to find consistency during the season, but head coaches Jennifer Sikes, of CHHS, and Pike County’s Karrie Striplin feel there are brighter days ahead for their respective programs.