By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Corbin Lady Redhound volleyball team achieved something this season that had never been done in the program’s history — back-to-back region titles.
Although the team’s trip to the state tournament last weekend didn’t end the way head coach Liberty Roberts had hoped it would, she said as excited as she is about the way the season played out, the future of the Lady Redhound program excites even more.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what we did and what those girls accomplished as a team this season,” Roberts said. “But the best part is what this season is going to do for our program as far as attracting young athletes to be a part of it.
“Any time you win and you’re successful, it gives you more attention and that gives you the possibility of drawing in girls that might otherwise not be interested in the sport,” she added. “I’m also excited about the way we were able to send our seniors out having gone to the state tournament twice in a row.”
In addition to sending the two seniors out in style, one of those seniors took home here second straight 13th Region Player of the Year award, Roberts had high praise for Wiseman after she was given the award.
“Vanessa has been one of the most consistent players I’ve ever seen and over the past two seasons, she’s been the best in our area,” Roberts said. “She’s the kind of player that can not only carry a team with her ability, but she can also be a leader vocally and that’s what she did for us.”
As for Corbin’s brief stay in the state tournament, Roberts said she felt like her squad would have had a better chance if not for the luck (or bad luck) of the draw. The Lady Redhounds faced one of the top teams in the state in the Lone Oak Purple Flash. As they entered the state tournament, Lone Oak had only lost to one in-state team (Henry Clay) all season. While she said she wasn’t making excuses, Roberts said she felt like her team may have gotten a first round win against a few of the other teams in the tournament.
“I just think that our kids shut down mentally against Lone Oak,” Roberts said. “When you look at a team like that, they can be intimidating if you haven’t played against that caliber of opponent.
“Once we got started, we gave up some points and the girls got down on themselves and just shut down,” she added. “I really think had we been able to get another team in the draw, we may have been able to compete a little better, but that’s just how it played out.”
The key to playing better competition is something Roberts said she is already looking to address for next season. She said she hopes to schedule tougher teams for regular season play in hopes of being ready should her team make another postseason run.
“I just think that if you want to be considered one of the teams on that next level, you have to play tougher competition,” she said. “Not to take anything away from the teams around here, but you have to play teams that are much better than you if you expect to get to the level of some of the teams at the state tournament level.”