Greyhounds go undefeated in Northwest League en route to state tournament appearance

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Gaston's Charity Hall celebrates a point during a Greyhound game late last fall.Give it up for the Gaston volleyball team.

The Greyhounds are coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, and while they didn't have the fairy tale ending they may have envisioned when they boarded a bus and headed for last fall's state tournament in Redmond, the school, the town and especially their coach are proud of the team and their 2017 season.

"The girls played really well in the state tournament, and we were so close to moving on, but a few lapses combined with a quality opponent hurt us in the end," said Gaston head coach Melody McMasters. "Losing is hard, and the girls put so much time into (preparing) in the offseason, but we're excited about what we accomplished."

Gaston finished the regular season 12-0 in the Northwest League, marking the second consecutive year they went unbeaten in conference play. After being eliminated in the first round of last year's state playoffs, this year's more experienced team defeated Bonanza in this season's opening round and traveled to the state tournament looking to make a run, with the support of the entire Gaston community behind them.

"The school provided us with an assembly to send the team off, then the fire department escorted our bus out of town with a fire engine and police car," said McMasters. "What can you say about that, other than that's just awesome community support?"

The Greyhounds were led by their "fab five," consisting of seniors and co-captains Charity Hall and Taylor Bassel, Julia and Daisy Clark, and outside hitter Icis McQueen, whom McMasters will tell you are responsible for the bulk of the Greyhounds' recent success.

"They've been incredible," said McMasters. "Their dedication to the sport, coachability, and willingness to work as a team has truly made my job easy."

Gaston lost 3-1 to Kennedy who went on to finish third, losing to eventual champion Grant Union in the second round. The Greyhounds then lost to Monroe in a tightly contested consolation match, but despite the winless couple days at state, Coach McMasters couldn't say enough about her team, the support they received from the school and community, and most prominently her kids and captains.

"I had great leadership from my two captains, Charity and Taylor," said the coach. "Those girls have been so dedicated to the program and winning. They played their hearts out."

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