PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)– The Bay Volleyball team is in the Class 4A District 1 Championship game for the first time in several years.
This is after the Tornadoes were seeded fifth by the FHSAA’s blind draw playoff seeding.
Bay beat Rutherford and Walton earlier this week, the team credits having a consistent coach at the helm as one reason for the success.
Bay High head volleyball coach Sierra Burris is now in her third season with the program after the Tornadoes were accustomed to seeing their head coaches change frequently.
“When I first got here I was their fifth coach in five years and no matter how good a coach is they cannot do a whole lot in one year,” Burris said.
Burris said their program was in a disarray both on and off the court. However, now she is seeing the team come together for the sport and each other.
“It’s definitely like the closet team I’ve ever been a part of and we just have fun like whatever we’re doing together,” Bay volleyball player Tressa Carpenter said.
The Tornadoes will be up against South Walton, a team that has beaten them twice this season, in Thursday’s title game. Burris said they will focus on playing what they call fun volleyball.
“Fun is not just laughing, fun is getting really aggressive contact on the ball, fun is getting a good block, fun is sliding on the floor getting that ball up and then getting the next touch for your teammate,” Burris said.
Senior Tornado Kylie Smith said they will control what they can control out on the court.
“At the end of the day, as long as we try our hardest and know that we walked away knowing we walked away doing the best we could, then I feel like we’ll all be happy with ourselves,” Smith said.
The team’s three seniors are glad they’ll end their time at Bay at a great place in the postseason, something they weren’t expecting.
“If you would have told me a couple seasons ago that we would be in the championship game there’s no way I would’ve believed you,” Carpenter said.
“One last ride with my girls, this is senior year so lets get it going,” Bay volleyball player Audra Dew said.
The title game is set for 6 p.m. at South Walton.