Verdigris volleyball seniors arrive at final destination
BY JOSH HALEY World Correspondent
Thursday, October 04, 2012
10/04/12 at 5:16 AM
A volleyball program in its seventh year probably has no business contending for a state title, much less winning one.
But for a group of Verdigris seniors, a state championship is very much within reach and is the only thing that will satisfy an appetite that crept up before they hit high school.
"It's a great feeling to know we've all grown up together and now we are going to state together," said libero Morgan "Mo" Hendricks.
Hendricks, Stacia Payne, Shelby Anderson and Correy Moyer are the four seniors who will lead the Cardinals' quest for a title that begins on Friday in Chickasha.
Moyer transferred to Verdigris over the summer while the other three have been eyeing the same goal since junior high.
"Stacia (Payne) and I were talking before the regional final about how this could be our last match and it was sad," said outside hitter Shelby "Sunshine" Anderson. "We weren't going to let that be our last."
Verdigris had no problems cruising through regionals, winning all three matches without losing a set to advance to state for the first time in these seniors' high school tenure.
"It was very disappointing not going to state in the past," said Payne, the captain. "I just knew we would make it this year because everyone just wanted it so bad."
The Class 4A No. 4 Cardinals' 25-9 record is not the most glamorous of the eight teams in the state tournament, but it is who they have played that prepares them for anyone who stands in the way of a state championship.
"We have played against 5A and 6A teams to prepare for the state tournament," said fifth-year head coach Lonell Clark-Shew. "That's how I know they are ready."
A come-from-behind win against current 5A No. 6 Catoosa four weeks ago came at the beginning of a winning streak that now stands at 15 matches.
"That was a turning point in the season for us," said Moyer. "I think that's when we really came together."
The experience of a group that Clark-Shew has built along with the addition of Moyer and assistant coach Mike Buntin has created expectations of a championship.
"All four of these seniors add something special to our team," said Clark-Shew. "When they are on the floor, they play as one."
Verdigris will open the state tournament against Oklahoma Union at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Original Print Headline: Verdigris seniors arrive at final destination
Class 4A state volleyball
Local teams to watch
Copan: The No. 7 Hornets (27-6) will face No. 2 Okay in the first round. They won the Kellyville tournament as well as their co-hosted tournament over fellow state tournament qualifier Oklahoma Union.
Okay: A 12-match winning streak has the No. 2 Mustangs boasting a 28-3 record entering their first-round match against No. 7 Copan. Okay won the Tahlequah Sequoyah tournament earlier in the year and has not lost a set in its last 10 matches.
Verdigris: The No. 4 Cardinals will open the tournament against No. 5 Oklahoma Union, whom they beat in straight sets less than two weeks ago. They have won 15 straight matches and are battle-tested with a schedule that included 10 matches against teams ranked in the top 10.
at Chickasha High School
Cache vs. Weatherford, noon
Copan vs. Okay, 1:30 p.m.
Oklahoma Union vs. Verdigris, 3 p.m.
Elgin vs. Bethany, 4:30 p.m.
Elgin/Bethany vs. OK Union/Verdigris, noon
Cache/Weatherford vs. Copan/Okay, 1:45 p.m.
Saturday, 3:45 p.m.