By Kai Raymer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The curse is over.
For both Logan-Rogersville and other Class 3 public schools who pride themselves on volleyball.
Rogersville clinched its first state title in program history with a dominating two-set win (25-16, 25-13) over Lutheran South in Saturday night’s Class 3 finals at the MSHSAA Volleyball Championships in Cape Girardeau.
“It’s everything and more that we could have ever wanted,” said Rogersville senior Allie Gipson. “We’ve worked for this as a team all year long. Getting (a title) is just an incredible feeling. It’s so incredible.”
With the victory, Rogersville ends a 22-year streak of private schools winning the MSHSAA Class 3 title. No public school had finished first in Class 3 since Salem in 1996.
“We broke the curse, I guess,” said Wildcats coach Tammy Miller.
Rogersville left no doubt.
The Wildcats went 6-0 in Friday’s round-robin competition. In Saturday’s finals, they led comfortably by the 20-point mark in both sets.
“We all love each so much and we all showed up to play (on Friday),” Gipson said. “Winning those games was just a great feeling. It was great motivation. We knew we could do it.”
Rogersville had reached state five times from 2000-2010, then for a sixth time in 2016. The Wildcats finished second in 2000 and 2007, and fourth two years ago.
Many of Rogersville’s current players were either starters or reserves on that 2016 team.
“We’ve worked so hard all season and just to go out like this… this being our last game together is something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives,” said Wildcats libero and senior, Sydney Dunavant.
Rogersville’s defense limited Lutheran South (25-9-1 overall) to just eight percent hitting. Birdie Hendrickson and Claire Taylor led the Wildcats with seven kills apiece. Hendrickson also had 11 digs.
Sam Thompson issued 17 assists for a Rogersville attack that hit 32 percent.
On Friday, Rogersville ended its dominant day by beating Lutheran South – their finals opponent – in two sets.
“We played really hard yesterday, but we knew Lutheran South was going to come back and play hard again,” Dunavant said. “We were tired, they were tired. We knew it’d be a whole different level.”
Miller said the Wildcats had extra confidence heading into this weekend. They took down nationally ranked Helias Catholic – on the Crusaders’ home court – in an epic quarterfinals win last week.
“After we beat Helias, I think our kids’ confidence level was very high,” Miller said. “They were on a mission and wanted to accomplish it. They wanted to finish it.”
Rogersville finishes 40-2 overall. The Wildcats graduate five seniors: Gipson, Dunavant, Gabby Massengale, Maci McHenry and Alyssa Jungers.
“I’m going to remember every single moment of (this weekend) leading up to this second,” Gipson said. “I’m going to remember it all. We’re just one big, happy family.”