Freshman volleyball has thrilling 12-0 season


This year’s freshman volleyball team had an incredible season. The girls claimed the OK White conference title and had an undefeated season with a record of 12-0. The Rangers’ games were mostly won within the first two sets, with exception of Lowell and Forest Hills Northern.

The high performance this year was expected by head coach Bri Tilton.

“The season did end the way I expected,” Tilton said. “I knew that [the girls] had an undefeated season in them.”

Not only did Tilton have faith in an incredible season, but the players did too.

“I knew we had a great amount of potential,” freshman Olivia Dewald said. “Most of us have played together before and we were equipped for what challenges we would face.”

Highlights of the season ranged from beating rival Forest Hills Northern twice, beating Lowell twice, and the fun during practice and outside of the gym. The first year of high school volleyball was exciting for the team, and this was the girls’ first look into the atmosphere of high school athletics; what they got out of it was promising.

“Coming into our first year of high school and making the freshman volleyball team, I think we were all kind of nervous,” freshman co-captain Julia Carlson said. “As the season started progressing, we started advancing in our conference and taking home the wins.”

The team bonding was one of the crucial puzzle pieces to this successful season. Without it, the girls wouldn’t have been able to have a little fun while playing.

“[The highlight of the season] was definitely our team bonding dinners and parties,” Olivia said. “We didn’t have to worry about focusing or working, [we could] just hang out and get to know each other.”

Another important part of this season was the gameplay. Both the offense and defense worked hard to achieve all of the wins and adapted to the obstacles thrown their way. The girls put in the time and effort; they wanted it and worked for the season they wanted. Tilton threw in harder offensive plays because she knew that this team would be able to both handle and have success with the complex plays.

“[The girls] ran a complex offense that was more advanced than any other freshman team that we played,” Tilton said. “My team put in so many hours in the gym, in the weight room, and even outside the gym to increase their own volleyball IQ. I threw complex things at them right off the bat; some things took a while to get, but by the end we were a well-oiled machine.”

The individual performances this year included major serving runs, unstoppable kills, and crucial digs. Key players stepped up this season when the team needed it.

“Everyone took their turn as key players,” Tilton said. “Some days, one girl had to step up and another day, another girl would. They all knew what role they would have to be in that game and executed that flawlessly.”

There should be some impressive upcoming volleyball talent if the pattern of successful teams keeps repeating itself. Each year has gotten better and better. The middle school players show a lot of potential for the upcoming years.

Early in the season, it took a few games for FHC to find its groove; however, that was short-lived, as they went on to not only beat teams but completely dominate them. The girls started winning by even larger score gaps and took over the court. This led to the Rangers claiming the title of OK White conference champions.

“Winning the conference was huge for us, and we knew we had everything we needed to get there,” Olivia said. “It felt amazing at our last game to be able to say ‘undefeated season.’”

The girls have a lot to be proud of, starting their high school athletic careers off as conference champs is an impressive accomplishment.

“I’m most proud of my team for giving it their all,” Julia said. “We definitely had some ups and downs, but overall I think we played really well. Our hard work paid off.”

The team worked hard for this perfect record and an amazing season; the girls wanted it and they got it.

“A lot of hard work went into practices,” Tilton said. “I think that one of our biggest contributors to our undefeated season is the culture my girls made on the team by holding each other accountable, putting the team first, and always playing smarter, not harder.”