NORMAN — Southmoore’s first trip to the state volleyball tournament didn’t last as long as they had wanted. Facing No. 2 Edmond North in the first round of the eight-team championship event, the SaberCats were swept 3-0 on Oct. 18 in Bixby.
Despite that, Southmoore coach Janet Brannon was satisfied with the way her team competed.
“Overall they played with a lot of heart and never gave up,” Brannon said. “We had 100 percent serving rate in the match which is extremely difficult to do, especially in a state playoff match.”
The Huskies went on play for the state title against No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe, which showed what type of talented and experienced team had knocked the Cats out.
“Edmond North has a core group of seniors that have not only played together all throughout high school together, but on their club team as well,” Brannon said. “They run a fast paced offense with many talented players.”
The loss to North was also the final match for Southmoore’s senior class that has led the way in building the program up into a title contender. In their final contest wearing Southmoore gear, the seniors went out with a solid performance.
“Amy Serowski played strong the entire match with kills and 11 digs,” Brannon said. “Kassidy Muse put up several key blocks and kills when we were able to get her the ball. Our seniors took their leadership role very seriously this year and they will be a tough act to follow. Many of our younger players have commented on how weird it will be when they’re not here because they’ve always associated Southmoore volleyball with those four girls as they’ve been coaches at youth league and summer camps for these players.”
Besides making it to state, Southmoore posted its best season ever in the short history of the school.
“This season has been very special - not only because it’s the best all around team we’ve ever had talent wise, but because it’s the best team both on and off the court that we’ve ever had,” Brannon said. “We focused on many goals that we achieved - the first one being giving it all to God and playing for His glory. They established team bible studies, team prayer before practices and games, and public prayer following our national anthem at home games. After they achieved their spiritual goal. The rest of their team goals all fell into place.”
While the senior class will be hard to replace, they are not leaving the SaberCats empty handed.
“Although losing those dynamic seniors, we are fairly deep in their positions,” Brannon said. “Athletically and talent wise, we should pick up right where we left off next season, but that talent will only go so far if they don’t work extremely hard off of the court as well. In the classroom, in their families, in their church and with each other - on top of the weight room and conditioning programs.”
Brannon’s goal when she first arrived at Southmoore was to get the program to where it could be mentioned along with the elite volleyball teams in Oklahoma. Getting to state brings the SaberCats one step closer to doing that.
“It was not a stroke of luck that we ended up in the state playoff ,” Brannon said. “We have strategically put this program together from day one. We know that we’re not quite at the level some of the other programs are, but we’re gaining on them and quickly. We made it to state this season and plan to make an appearance every year hereafter.”