24th ranked Rogersville ready for title defense

Winning a volleyball state championship takes a certain formula.

“You gotta have a little luck and you gotta have talent, and gotta have some guts,” said Rogersville Head Coach Tammy Miller. “You gotta lay it out there, no stone un-turned.”

Rogersville put that formula to work last year, winning the Class 3 state title.

So what’s the mindset now for the Lady Wildcats?

“It’s the same process, [the] same journey and we have to have the same mentality and focus going in,” said senior Birdie Hendrickson.

That same focus will come from a different looking lineup, with the Lady Wildcats losing four all-conference seniors to graduation.

So Miller says don’t judge her team by what you see early this year.

“All the stuff we’re lacking in right now are things we can control, that we can fix,” Miller said. “It’s not going to happen in September, we’re looking toward October.”

It’s October and November where Rogersville hopes to peak.

That could mean one more deep playoff run for the Lady Wildcat seniors.

“It would mean everything to me you know, it’s always ‘senior year is the big last chance and I think I’m even more determined this year to get it,” Hendrickson said.

“I think it’s a lot of pressure,” said senior Claire Taylor. “But I think it makes us a lot better and we kind of realize we need to focus.”

The level of pressure gets a boost with MaxPreps ranking the Lady Wildcats as the No. 24 team in the nation.

To Miller, that ranking is nothing more than a number.

“That’s last year’s team. That’s a contribution to last year, what we did and our success last year. They have to earn that this year,” Miller said.

Even still, the players know that ranking is another reason they’re the team to beat in Southwest Missouri.

“It’s different having a target on our back this year but it makes it even more exciting,” Hendrickson said.

Just because they have the rings and the ranking, don’t think these Lady Wildcats will change their approach in 2019.

“It’s every coaches dream to make the final four, it’s every coaches dream to win the state championship,” Miller said. “We’re going to continue to work hard, we’re going to continue to do the things Wildcat volleyball has always done.”

The Lady Wildcats have won a conference and district championship every year for more than a decade. So it’s safe to what they’ve always done has worked just fine.

The 1-0 Lady Wildcats host Nixa on Tuesday.

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