LSRV volleyball team prepares for state playoffs
While the Little Snake River Valley’s six-man varsity football team seeks its second straight state title, the LSRV varsity volleyball team hopes to bring a state trophy of its own to Baggs, Wyo.
The Rattlers play in the first round of the Wyoming 1A state volleyball playoffs Thursday against Hulett High School in Casper, Wyo. The game is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.
Under second-year head coach Brianna Braun, the Rattlers are 24-7-3 heading into the tournament.
“Overall, we had a really good season,” Braun said Tuesday. “The kids performed well all season and really improved as it progressed.”
Braun, who coached the Moffat County High School varsity volleyball team for three and a half seasons before taking over in Baggs, said she lost three seniors from last year’s state qualifying team.
However, the Rattlers returned five seniors and several other varsity players.
“Honestly, the experience has helped us make strides as a team,” Braun said. “The girls are more in tune with the game and can handle the pressure a lot better than they could last season.”
The Rattlers finished Three Trails Conference play with a perfect 8-0 record and entered the Wyoming 1A regional tournament Oct. 21 and 22 as the No. 1 southwest seed.
LSRV won two games, but lost in three sets in the regional championship game to No. 1 northwest seed, Burlington High School.
“We would rather lose the regional championship than the state championship,” Braun said. “Of all the state titles the LSRV volleyball teams have won, no team has won the regional title and the state title.”
The biggest contributors have been seniors this season, Braun said.
Senior Morgan Wille had to become a setter in her final season after spending three years primarily as a hitter.
“(Morgan) has never set before and she has done a really great job because she can set from anywhere,” Braun said. “Basically, if you name it, she can do it on the court. Anytime the ball comes over the net, she usually touches it.”
Braun said fellow senior Riley Adams has had just as big of an impact as Wille as the team’s libero.
“Riley came into her own as a defensive player and has been one of the team’s leaders all season,” she said. “She gets to balls some players can’t and she led our team in digs with anywhere from 12 to 20 a game. She has really been an exceptional player this year.”
The Rattlers have not faced Hulett this year, but Braun said she feels confident her team can get past the first-round opponent.
In the second round, LSRV could face Kaycee High School, whom they beat three sets to one Oct. 7
With the ultimate goal being a state title, however, Braun said she expects to see Burlington High School in the state title game if the Rattlers advance.
“When we lost in the regional games to Burlington, I didn’t feel it was because they were a better team, but rather we just had an off game,” she said. “We beat ourselves. It is never fun to lose, but it is good to know that they aren’t necessarily a better team.”
If the Rattlers can bring home a state title, it will be the school’s first volleyball championship in six years.
Braun said her team’s defense could make the difference.
“We are a really strong serve-receive team and not a lot of balls hit the floor against us,” she said. “We have good hitters and good defenders. Our goal since the beginning has been to win the state title.”
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