In what hoped to be a state title run turned into a brisk walk for the Faith Academy Lady Knights volleyball team at the 2017 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Class 1A tournament, Nov. 9, in Waco.
After the Lady Knights won the first set 25-16, the Bulverde Bracken Lady Warriors started clicking on offense and stopped Faith Academy’s momentum to come back and pull out a four-set win, 25-16, 25-19 and 25-20.
“We constantly played from behind against Bracken and then just ran out of steam in those last three games,” Head Coach Joshua McLain said. “The first set wasn’t really us either but Bracken helped us out by making lots of errors. Our girls were able to hang tough and apply just enough pressure to pull out that first set.”
The loss ends Faith Academy’s season with the team finishing record of 18-11-3.
The Lady Knights’ winning a set at the Final Four was the first for the program since the 2013 team dropped a 3-2 match to Wichita Falls Notre Dame in the state final. FA was swept, 3-0, in their last state semi-final appearance to conclude the 2015 season.
McLain said he thought this year’s team showed up to compete but in the end the intensity was not there for the Lady Knights to take that next step and compete for the school’s first state title in five years.
“It’s been a season to remember that’s for sure,” he said. “These girls did a tremendous job getting to the state tournament despite a new coaching staff, inexperience and losing five starters from last year.”
McLain is optimistic that the team can make a repeat trip next season as the squad welcomes back four starters plus what looks to be a strong incoming freshman class. He believes there is a good chance that the younger players coming up can add to the mix and help the program continue its long running success.
“I hope we can continue to carry on the tradition the program has built here over the years with the players coming back and entering the varsity program,” the coach said. “We are building a culture here that is going to be built around a team first mentality.”
Faith has continued a tradition over the past 14 years of winning district and advancing to the postseason. To keep that success in tact the coach is already preparing for next season.
“I was hired late in the summer so there was really little time to put everything I wanted into place immediately,” McLain said. “I have the time now to put more things into place that will build the team’s strength and conditioning program and skill level. I also have the ability to build a strong schedule that will make us better in the long run. ”
“We have to get stronger and faster and we have to play the best teams in order for us to make another run at the district and state title.”