It’s not easy to beat the same team three times in one season, and the Celina volleyball team was fully aware of that going into Tuesday night’s postseason showdown with Sanger.
The Lady Bobcats dismantled their district foe in the two prior meetings, but closing them out in a packed house in the regional quarterfinals would not be easy.
However, Celina made quick work of Sanger and cruised to its third sweep in as many playoff games to advance to this week’s regional tournament for the first time since 2013.
“We are on an emotional high right now,” Said Ginger Murray, Celina head coach. “The girls are just so excited, and that has been a team goal since the end of July. This has been their vision and path they wanted to go on, and I told them this week, ‘Why not us?’”
Ever since the team first met in July – along with five straight victories to begin the season back in August – Murray knew there was something special about her group.
Her ball club was fresh off of a trip to the third round of the postseason in the 2018 campaign and returned a huge chunk of a roster that included a senior-laden group coming into this year.
In fact, Celina features nine tightly-knit seniors, according to Murray, which has been a recipe to the program’s success.
“Their love for the game and their love for each other has kept them rolling like this,” she said. “They also don’t want this to be their last week of practice, so they are just so motivated. They truly are a super special bunch.”
Standing in the Lady Bobcats’ way of potentially reaching the state tournament for the first time ever is Bullard and then a potential matchup on Saturday between the winner of No. 1-ranked Farmersville and Kennedale.
But Celina must take care of business against the Lady Panthers first, who sport a 40-6 overall record and have not lost a match since Oct. 4 when they fell at the hands of Kilgore in District 16-4A action.
“It’ll be a really good game, for sure,” Murray said. “Anybody that makes it this late into the season will be tough from here on out. But we have such a talented group that is so solid all across the board, and I want them to relax, have fun and enjoy every moment.”