By Andrew Glover
SHAWNEE, Okla. —
The Stillwater Lady Pioneers had plenty of support in their first game of the state tournament against Edmond Santa Fe at Shawnee High School. Family, friends and students came out to cheer on their women in blue and yellow. Despite the support, the Lady Pioneers couldn’t overcome the Lady Timberwolves, falling in four sets (19-25, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25).
“We needed to make sure to execute the plan that we brought,” coach Jason Webber said. “We didn’t do that at times. We didn’t do some simple things down the stretch. The cool thing is we had a really good team going into this. I had a lot of faith that we had the ability and skill to take on the Edmond Santa Fe Timberwolves.”
The Lady Pioneers started the first game strong with a 4-0 run, only to see Santa Fe come back and tie the game. Both teams exchanged points but the Lady Timberwolves put together a 4-0 run to take a 15-11 lead. Stillwater didn’t get closer than two after that.
Stillwater followed suit in the second game, jumping out to a 6-3 lead, but Santa Fe came back to take a 7-6 lead. This match went back and forth but Stillwater put together a couple runs late. The Lady Pioneers pulled out to a 19-15 lead but the Lady Wolves came back and cut the lead to one. Then Stillwater closed in on game point pushing its advantage to 24-18 off a kill by senior Savannah Gamble. Santa Fe came back within one before senior Peyton Meacham’s kill evened the match.
Webber said the team wanted to use its strengths against their weaknesses.
“We wanted to change that up from time to time,” Webber said. “It cost us a lot. You have to execute calmly and fluidly in the heat of the battle. We just didn’t do that. There was some youthful tendencies here and there.”
Momentum didn’t stay with the Lady Pioneers for very long as the Lady Timberwolves scored the first six points of Game 3. Edmond Santa Fe pushed its lead as high as 10. Stillwater would get as close as six but wasn’t able to inch closer as the Lady TImberwolves took the game by seven.
The Lady Pioneers fell behind early in the fourth game as Santa Fe raced out to a 7-3 lead. Stillwater got as close as two but a 6-2 run by the Lady Timberwolves put them down 15-9. The serving of Alexia Geer and senior Kiley Josey brought the Lady Pioneers within two. Josey had three kills to cut Santa Fe’s lead to 19-17. Stillwater couldn’t get closer as Meacham wasn’t able to return a Lady Wolve attack, ending the match and the Lady Pioneers season.
The game ended the careers of nine seniors — Brook Clason, Katelyn Speer, Stephanie Dermer, Tessa Meeks, Kaitlyn Cotton, Josey, Meacham, Geer and Gamble. Webber said he was proud of his seniors and the tradition they want for Stillwater volleyball.
“These girls have put their heart and soul in trying to restart a trend,” Webber said. “Stillwater expects to make it to the state tournament quite frequently. I’m very proud of our nine seniors and our great team. They are great girls and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”