Volleyball adds to dynasty with 7th state title

The+volleyball+team+won+their+7th+UIL+state+championship+Nov.+23.+Their+win+marked+the+first+state+championship+since+their+2014+season.+
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Volleyball adds to dynasty with 7th state title

The volleyball team won their 7th UIL state championship Nov. 23. Their win marked the first state championship since their 2014 season.

The volleyball team won their 7th UIL state championship Nov. 23. Their win marked the first state championship since their 2014 season.

Katie Dolberry

The volleyball team won their 7th UIL state championship Nov. 23. Their win marked the first state championship since their 2014 season.

Katie Dolberry

Katie Dolberry

The volleyball team won their 7th UIL state championship Nov. 23. Their win marked the first state championship since their 2014 season.

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Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Dec. 12 to include an infographic including more information about the volleyball team’s road to state.

The Leopards (49-5) stood victorious against the Randall Raiders (37-4) to win their 7th UIL state championship, a feat that had not been reached since their 2014 season. The team swept Randall in a 3-0 match at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, which boosts Lovejoy’s national rank to 13, to finish the season.

“Winning state is the most incredible experience as a player and coach one could experience” head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “It is a culmination of all the hard work and effort you put into a sport you love. It is such a great feeling. I thought we did a great job against Randall at controlling their best player, she’s very talented and we held her to minimal damage which allowed us to be successful.”

“It was like the craziest moment ever,” senior Emma Johnson said of winning the championship. “Everyone stepped up and did their job, and we were just playing our best. The offense was finding holes and putting the balls down, and the defense was setting up the offense. It was really great having all that support, it really gets us going, and we play our best when we have people supporting us.”

The first set was closely contested, with Lovejoy having to score 27 kills compared to Randall’s 25. Lovejoy went on to win the second set after a 9-2 run that saw the Raiders falter, as the third set was won 25-15. A string of nine kills in the final set sealed the game, with junior Cecily Bramschreiber hammering in the final kill.

“It felt really good to be able to stick to what I said last year when we got 2nd,” Bramschreiber said. “I said we were going to come back, and we came back. [In the match], we were trying to stay aggressive because once you shy down, it doesn’t help the team. Throughout the whole season, we did a really good job of sticking to the game plan.”

Bramschreiber, a TCU commit, was awarded the tournament MVP as well as the player of the match, as she recorded 20 kills in the game and had 8 digs as well. Throughout the season, Bramschreiber scored nearly a third of all kills, as well as contributing in blocks and digs.

“It was a little unreal,” Bramschreiber said. “My teammates were next to me and they were telling me that [the award] was for me, and I was just constantly saying no no no, it’s not me, but then they said my name. A lot of my favorite moments this season were off the court, but out hardest game this season [Liberty] was really fun, proving that we could beat a team like that felt really good.”

Sophomore Averi Carlson tallied 40 assists and five blocks in the match, and junior Callie Kemohah added 16 digs. Carlson has been responsible for over two thirds of assists this season, while Kemohah has been consistent in leading the team in digs completed. Junior Lexie Collins led the defense in the final match, as well as throughout the season, tallying nearly half of all blocks, including five in the championship game.

“Winning state is the most incredible experience as a player and coach one could experience” head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “It is a culmination of all the hard work and effort you put into a sport you love. It is such a great feeling. I thought we did a great job against Randall at controlling their best player, she’s very talented and we held her to minimal damage which allowed us to be successful.”

The championship match against Randall was the last high school volleyball game for four seniors, Johnson, Mckenna Franks, Jentry Allen, and Reagan Dowdall, as the team is mainly comprised of juniors and sophomores.

“It was super exciting and with it being the last game of the season, it was a little sad, but it was just the best experience,” Johnson said. “Playing volleyball in high school has given me my best friends, my family, and my community. It’s been home for me for the past four years.”

This season was also the first with head coach Mitchell at the helm, who made a bet with a group of friends that he would shave his head if Lovejoy were to win state. Sure enough, Mitchell stuck to his word and had his head shaved by some of the players at the pep rally on Thursday.

“I really enjoyed this season, and we had incredible chemistry as a group,” Mitchell said. “The players loved each other and worked hard in practice. It was an amazing journey. We graduate four special young ladies as seniors but we will return the core starting line up from this year’s team. Each year is different and presents its own challenges, but I am already looking forward to what that will look like.”

The seventh championship trophy in program history will be added to the already impressive collection of trophies, further adding to the “dynasty” of Lovejoy Volleyball.