But the story of Norwood High School volleyball is far from over.
As members of Maverick’s volleyball team watched last Saturday’s final championship match between Otis and Fleming, Coach Sheri Hardman said she perceived a tangible anticipation among her volleyball squad.
“There was this feeling like, ‘we can play here, we can beat these teams,” Hardman said.
Norwood completed its regular season with a 22-1 record, going on to win the District Tournament and securing its first invitation to the State Tournament in nearly 20 years. Hardman said the team was a little “star struck” playing at the State Tournament level, at least during Norwood’s first match against Merino.
“It was something these players have never experienced before – five matches going on all at once in one room,” she said, noting that Norwood came out flat in its first State matchup on Friday, losing to Merino in three matches, 14-25, 24-26, and 21-25.
In their next match against Otis (the defending State Champ, who went on to take second behind Fleming in the 2010 final,) Norwood picked up the pace considerably. Down two matches to Otis, NHS turned up the intensity in set three and eked out a close victory, 25-23. They lost the next set, however, 16-25, thus losing the match 1-3.
Returning to competition on Saturday with a 0-2 record could have dampened the spirits of some teams, but not Norwood.
“They went out there and played on a level that was more like what we’ve done in the past, with this never-give-up, never-die attitude,” Hardman said. Norwood won the match against McClave 3-2, winning the first set 25-19, falling in the next two sets 20-25 and 18-25, then coming back in sets four and five, 25-22 and 15-10, to take the victory.
Despite the fact that the win didn’t put them into contention for the semi-finals, Hardman said her team’s attitude was nevertheless upbeat. “None of that mattered. They just decided they wanted to win, so they worked hard at that,” she said.
And in that way, the Norwood Lady Mavericks ended their winningest season in nearly two decades with a victory at the State Tournament.
The team will be saying goodbye to just one graduating senior this year, Emily Winner. The rest of the team’s starters are expected to return next season, and Hardman said she’s anticipating more great things from this particular group of volleyball players.
Four of the 2010 team’s players were named to the San Juan Basin League All-Conference team this year. They include: Emily Winner, who was also nominated for the All-State game; Lindsey Stindt; Katelyn Hardman; and Harley Williams, who was honorable mention for All-Conference.