SNEADS, Fla. (WMBB) – The Sneads volleyball team is two wins away from their ninth consecutive state championship.
However, this season has been their toughest challenge yet, as only one player on the team is over 5’10 and they have had to change their style of play from years past entirely.
“We didn’t really have the confidence that we had in prior years and thought that we would make it this far,” head volleyball coach Heather Edge said. “Nobody ever said that, but you could just see the worry on their faces because the identity is different from years past.”
The identity change worked like a charm, as the now scrappy defensive team won all but one match this season against 1A competition and are now back in the state semi-finals.
“It’s pretty cool because we’ve been doing it for so long,” junior libero Lily Glover said. “But we have like a lot of new girls, like seven other girls that have been on JV before so it’s like a brand new team, so a lot of them it’s their first time so it’s really exciting for them.”
One pirate volleyball player going for her first ring is middle blocker Jayla Lewis, a freshman who jumped right into a starting role and is still getting used to being able to represent the most dominant 1A program in all of Florida.
“I really feel kind of special playing with this team,” Lewis said. “Because like I always dreamed of playing with them, and like now that I’m playing with them I just feel kind of special playing with them.”
Half of the roster, however, is juniors and seniors, who have been in this postseason spot numerous times before, and are ready once again for the sweet taste of victory.
“Last year, when the last point, it was awesome, like the feeling of it is just amazing,” sophomore outside hitter Ella Sprouse said. “Like the last point is just like the best feeling ever, and I want to do it this year and I really hope that we do.”
With two games standing between the pirates and nine straight titles, they don’t want to focus on the past, but rather what lies ahead.
“The teams that started this dynasty in 2013, those aren’t the same girls,” Edge said. “We’re not trying to be like those teams, we’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves, and keep that dynasty going I guess.”
The Pirates will host Dixie County in the state semi-final Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CST.