The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 11, 2012

OBA enters state confident

ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma Bible Academy coach James Ward is hoping the fifth time is the charm when the Lady Trojans go after an elusive Class 5A state volleyball title, beginning today at Westmoore High School.

No. 5-ranked Lady Trojans (25-10), who will play No. 4 Christian Heritage at 5:15 p.m. today, have been eliminated in the semifinals the past two years. They lost in the first round the previous two years under Ward.

“I feel better than I ever had about state,’’ Ward said. “This is a really athletic group and I think that will make a difference for us. If they eliminate their errors, they are capable of winning this thing.’’

Senior Brooke Wayman, who has a team-high 526 kills, agrees.

“This is the most prepared we have ever been for state,’’ she said. “I have more confidence and more excitement than I’ve ever had.’’

The Lady Trojans have faced all seven state entrants in the state tournament and have a 5-9 record against the field, including 1-3 against Christian Heritage.

“We don’t have the fear of the unknown,’’ Ward said. “We know the challenge in front of us.’’

The Lady Trojans lost to the Crusaders 3-1 (25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 25-16) at home on Sept. 13. OBA beat Christian Heritage 2-1 (15-25, 25-17, 16-14) in the double-elimination Chisholm Trail Tournament, but lost twice in the championship round 2-0 (25-17, 25-14) and 2-1 (24-26, 25-21, 15-8).

“We know it’s a team that we can beat,’’ Ward said. “The key will be eliminating our own errors. If we can play smart volleyball, we’ll be OK. They beat us very handily the first time, but a lot of that was our own errors.’’

Wayman will be joined in the OBA starting lineup by freshman setter Ashley Atwood, Andi Messenger, Abby Nickel, Sydney Downing, Hannah Jackson and McKayla Kuykendall. Brooklyn Wiens and Addi Shamburg will be in the rotation.

Atwood was credited with 1,010 assists this season. Nickel was 382 of 395 serving for an impressive 96.6 percent.

The OBA-Christian Heritage winner will play the winner between No.1  Heritage Hall and No. 8 Lincoln Christian at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Other first round games pit No. 3 Cascia Hall against No. 6 Catoosa and No. 7 Shawnee against No. 2 Tulsa Washington. The finals are set for  6:15 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s time for us to move on,’’ Ward said. “We’re on the toughest side of the bracket.’’

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