Carl Albert volleyball earns first ever win at state
Titans beat Skiatook but fall to Victory Christian in state semifinals
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
SHAWNEE – A trip to the state tournament brought about some highs and lows for the Carl Albert volleyball team last Monday.
In a matter of hours, the No. 5-ranked Titans earned their first state tournament win in school history and then saw their season end.
Carl Albert opened the day with a 3-0 win against No. 4 Skiatook in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament, becoming the first team in school history to do so.
A few hours later, they saw their season end with 3-0 loss to No. 1 Victory Christian in the state semifinals.
“This is the best Carl Albert team in a while and I’m really proud that we were the first one to make it past the first round,” said senior Karsyn Smith. “I think we could have fought more in the second round with Victory Christian, but it is what it is.”
Victory Christian went on to claim their fourth consecutive state championship last Tuesday, beating Mount St. Mary in the finals 3-0 (25-18, 27-25, 25-17).
In the first round, Carl Albert was ready to go right away. They avenged a loss earlier in the year with a 3-0 triumph over Skiatook, winning 25-18, 25-12, 25-23.
Nina LaValley passed a 2.6 in serve/receive and Marlee Hunter had 20 digs. The team tallied 30 kills against Skiatook.
“That win felt really good and it was probably the best we’ve played all season,” said coach Hayden Robbins. “We told the girls that we needed to start off strong and they did it.”
The win sent the Titans to the second round against powerhouse Victory Christian. Carl Albert struggled to keep up with their outside hitters in a 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-14) loss.
“We have not seen a team like Victory Christian all year and we got caught off guard,” Robbins said. “We tried to watch film and prepare but it’s not the same as playing against them.”
Carl Albert was able to keep the ball in play much of the game but struggled on offense.
“We were hitting it right to them and not able to find the weak spots,” Robbins said.
Despite the loss, this season marked another step in the program’s progress. The Titans qualified for the state tournament the past three seasons and have seen improvement each time. Several of the seniors, including Smith, have been a part of that progress.
“Every year our team is getting better,” Smith said. “Freshman year, we did not make it to state, sophomore year we made it and lost in the first round, junior year we lost to Bishop Kelley, but were able to take a set off of them which was a big deal. And this year we won in the first round.”