The Man High School volleyball team was not disappointed with last Friday’s 3-0 loss to East Hardy in the Class A state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
For the Lady Billies it was their first ever trip to state.
It was also the first WVSSAC state tournament berth for any volleyball team from Logan County.
Man started volleyball in the late 1990s and had some initial success under former coach Bill Toler. The Lady Billies advanced to the regionals in 2000 and had a 33-8 record.
In the years since, Man volleyball fell off but it has rebounded in recent years under head coach Orlando Washington.
The Lady Billies fell to East Hardy 25-22, 27-25, 25-17 and saw their season come to a close at 24-21-1.
“Our overall passing was not very good,” Coach Orlando Washington said. “The girls had a hard time making good passes off serves which hurt us. I believe that most of them were nervous.”
Despite the loss Washington said it was an honor to be a part of the state tournament field for the first time.
“There are 42 teams in Single-A and we were in the top eight so we were where 34 other teams wanted to be so I hope the girls understand just how special this is because nothing is guaranteed,” he said. “I really hope they realize that this was very special.”
Washington said his team stayed around the Civic Center to take in two of the three state championship matches.
“We watched the 3A and Single-A championships,” he said. “The Class AAA state finals saw Musselman beat Greenbrier East. The Single-A championship saw Wirt beat Tyler Consolidated 3-2 in a five-game thriller. Watching that match made me proud to be a member of Class A because it was an excellent match that saw two groups of girls competing at a high level. Hopefully my girls realized that that could be them next year if they worker harder because as a coach I believe they can reach that level if they become a true team and learn to support each other no matter what. They have to understand that they are going to make mistakes and they will have to battle back in some matches and fight to the very end.”
Coach Washington said with more work there’s no reason why Man volleyball can’t reach the top.
“What impressed me in the two championship matches we watched was the amount of fight those girls had in them,” he said. “Teams stick together no matter what. If this group can get to that level and fall in love with the sport even more then they could be in the championship game next year.”