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Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press


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Killed it: Seniors cap careers with back-to-back state titles

Megan Mayer
Seniors Gabby Anderson and Ava Martin position themselves to play a ball high in the air during their match against St. James on Sept. 14. Anderson and Martin shared team captain roles throughout this season, which was capped by a state title on Saturday.

Student-athletes everywhere dream of a fairytale senior season that ends with a state championship–but for seniors Gabby Anderson, Paige Calderon and Ava Martin, the dream campaign began with a nightmare. The varsity volleyball team dropped its opening match of the 4A KSHSAA state championships in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Clearwater in straight sets. Suddenly, they were facing elimination.

“I was really frustrated after Clearwater, I did not feel we should have lost that game,” Anderson said. “Immediately after the match, we had a team huddle without coaches and not very nice words were said between us. It made me mad to the point that I knew I had to go play really well the next game.”

The team would have to win the next two matches of pool play to give itself a chance at the state title. They did just that by defeating Eudora and Andover in straight sets, respectively.

“It actually kind of clicked that it could have been our last game,” Martin said. “Emotions were heightened for everyone, and it was just really real. Errors started to go way down and we started to play our game and click as a team.”

But even as the team improved, they weren’t safe. As the sun set in Hutchinson, the possibility of a three-way tie at the top of pool A was increasingly possible. KSHSAA tiebreakers would have eliminated the Stags based on total points won.

“It was really scary,” Anderson said. “I mean, it being my senior year, I didn’t want it to be over. We had a couple of dads that were sitting down doing the math with other parents from the other teams. There was a huge chance that we weren’t making it to day two.”

Fortunately, the Stags got some help. Eudora defeated Clearwater in three sets in the last match of the day, and Miege and Andale stood alone in the top two spots of Pool A with records of 2-1. The following afternoon, the Stags defeated Louisburg and then McPherson in straight sets, securing the program’s second straight state title and 28th overall.

“I honestly think this is the perfect ending,” Martin said. “Three out of four state championships. I love all the girls and I would love to play with them again, but I think this is a perfect ending to a career in high school.”

The state title marks the second in two tries with the Stags for head coach Lindsay Franco. Franco also won a 5A state championship with Lansing in 2021, making it three in a row for her.

“I definitely think she’s brought a new intensity to the program and she does a really good job of developing players,” Martin said. She’s an overall well-rounded coach because she focuses on every little detail and a lot of coaches don’t. She brought a new level of intensity and brought higher expectations to the program.”

The future is bright for the volleyball program. Two freshmen started for the team throughout the season and six freshmen received rings for the state championship effort.

“We had a lot of underclassmen and I think they got more comfortable as the season went on,” Anderson said. “Going into the state tournament is intimidating the first time you play in it or any time you play in and they overcame that.”

Martin has been on both sides of winning a state tournament, first as a freshman and now as a senior. The San Jose St. commit’s high school career has come full circle.

“My freshman year I played with my sister, and we had a big senior class,” Martin said. “It was kind of like they were passing the torch down to me and Ali Olson and Allie Burns my freshman year. This year, it’s just a different feeling because I get to pass the torch down to the next group of juniors and underclassmen, and I can’t wait to see them grow and develop.”

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About the Contributors
Daniel Sullivan
Daniel Sullivan, Sports Editor
Megan Mayer
Megan Mayer, Staff Writer

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