Third place in one of the most competitive leagues in the state, a trip to the state tournament and a quarterfinal loss to the No. 6-ranked South Eugene Axemen — that's a pretty good year.
The Glencoe Crimson Tide volleyball team lost a heartbreaking five-set match to South Eugene last Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the OSAA 6A state tournament, but don't tell head coach Mike Gaffaney the season was a disappointment.
"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to finish in the top-4 of the Metro League, which we did," Gaffaney said. "That wasn't too surprising, but to get to the tournament was both fun and impressive."
It was the first time that Glencoe had made it to the state tournament at the 6A level, and after taking the first two sets against South Eugene, it appeared if might be a long ride. Unfortunately for the Lady Tide, they lost the third and fourth sets, setting up a deciding fifth set, which Gaffaney said is usually about momentum.
"The fourth set was a bit of a struggle and it allowed them to get momentum," he said. "The fifth set is always a bit of a coin flip, but it's usually the team with that momentum that ultimately comes out on top."
And it was this time.
The Axemen finished the Tide in that fifth set, and the match, winning 22-25, 22-25, 25-13, 25-20, 15-7. But in spite of the loss, Gaffaney's is high on his team, what they accomplished.
"We upset two really good teams on the road to even get to the tournament," he said. "So it was a pretty incredible season. The girls are very proud, and I'm proud of them.
In spite of losing five seniors to graduation, Sydney DeBord, Abby Anderson, Natalie Allie, Ayana Ramberg, and Sydney Sahlfeld, Gaffaney expects next year's team to be very competitive.
"We lost a lot of experience, but I think next year we can compete with a little bit different look," said the coach. "We'll tweak our offense to play to the different strengths and weaknesses of our personnel."