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Lions spikers savor sweet season

It’s a rare occasion when any volleyball team can complete an entire season without losing a single game, but that’s exactly what happened this year for the Halifax County Middle School volleyball team. The Lions finished with a 13-0 record in the Southside Middle School Conference and a 17-0 record overall, sweeping both Powhatan Middle School and Park View Middle School to win the conference tournament.

Noting a great number of returning players, Lions’ head coach Jennifer Trent expected some level of success, but she admitted even she couldn’t have predicted her team would not lose a single game.

“With seven returning eighth graders and another returning seventh grader, I knew this season would be a good one,” said Trent.

“I just didn’t know if all the right factors would come together to create the season we had.  We truly tried to take it one game and one match at a time.

“I know the returning players were really focused on going undefeated even at the beginning of the season, but it’s hard to sit down and look at a schedule of 15 matches and say, ‘All right, let’s go undefeated.’”

“We just took it one game, one match at a time, and they did what they had to do in order to be this successful,” continued Trent.

“We practiced a lot and continually worked on teamwork with one another.  I mentioned it earlier, but to go undefeated is hard enough, and to do so without losing a single game is really challenging.

“I was proud of them for their consistency throughout the year.”

Trent’s team had just the right blend of experience and youth necessary to achieve success.

“The eighth grade group we have is an extremely talented athletic group.  These girls are playing multiple sports and playing them well,” noted Trent.

“My sixth and seventh graders played hard and learned a lot this year, and they did a good job, but I always worry as the coach about keeping everybody playing as one.

“We focus a lot on team unity and playing for the team.  We like to do well individually, but ultimately it comes down to how well the team does, particularly in volleyball.

“And, we saw this throughout the year.  If one player had a down game, the others picked her up.

“This group of girls was also special in the fact that they are truly friends with one another.  Sometimes you have a team where they can play together as a team, but they’re not that close off the court.

“This group really does care for one another.  It was a pleasure to coach them and to watch them grow as players but also grow as young ladies as well.”