Edna beats Goliad to win district, earn bye
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EDNA - The final attack was maybe a couple inches long. But, that's all it took to set off a celebration of the Edna volleyball team, one that had had no equal in the last two decades.
Edna clinched the District 30-2A championship with a 15-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23 win over Goliad.
"It was amazing. We spent a lot of hours in the gym working," said Edna's first-year volleyball coach Rachel Collins. "We have a ton of talent on this team. We've been pushing to get to where we need to be. Obviously, this game was big. .It felt good and it was such an accomplishment. I was so proud of them and how they played."
The last time Edna (25-7) went undefeated in district play was 1988. Collins was 3-years-old and watching the athletic exploits of her dad and older brothers. Collins' counterpart, Goliad's Jess Morris, wasn't yet born.
In 1988, Edna won all four 26-3A contests. Tuesday's win capped off a 14-game run through 30-2A play. Goliad (26-11, 12-2) had a chance to win a share of the district championship with a win.
"We had to play hard the whole time," said Morris, who is also in her first year. "That first game we came out and killed them. In the second and third game we just kind of let up. Some people were working hard and some people were not. We can't have that. Everyone has to work hard every time."
Supporters of both schools were well aware of the implications and filled the Edna gym. A half hour before the match started a group of Edna students pulled up in lawn chairs and sat behind the baseline to ensure they had a seat to the highly anticipated match.
Goliad's Mallory Bruns said the scene was nerve racking, yet exciting. She said the Tigerettes used that energy in the first game. However, they didn't have that enthusiasm in the final three games.
"They are a good team," said Bruns said. "We knew we had to come out and play our best. We are going to practice hard this week. Everyone is going to have to pick each other up."
Despite the loss, Goliad returns to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The Tigerettes will play Universal City Randolph in the bi-district playoffs in Nixon on Oct. 30.
"We got our butts kicked and handed to us in the first game. I won't lie," said Edna junior libero Drew Ganem, who finished with 19 digs and an ace. "We came back with fire. We had confidence in each other. We believed we could do it and we fought. We fought with all we had."
Saturday afternoon, Ganem watched her good friends on the St. Joseph volleyball team clinch a district championship. When it was her turn Tuesday night, the feeling was unparalleled.
"Coming into (our game) and knowing my best friends have one and I have one is amazing," Ganem said.
Madison Kucera and Natasha Evans may be the two primary hitters for the Cowgirls. But, Edna is more than a duopoly.
Collins said juniors Haley Orsak and Bethany Long stepped up Tuesday night to provide secondary options. The two combined for nine kills, five digs and a block. Ganem added that sophomore Megan Callaway, who had four kills, two digs, two blocks and an assist, was another influencer for the Cowgirls.
"She had our blocks and great hits," Ganem said about Calloway. "She moved up from JV this year and has improved greatly. She has done a great job."
As have all of them. Collins knew the Cowgirls had a lot of talent when she took the job. She said watching her girls gel and attain something no Edna team has accomplished in 24 years "was an awesome moment."