Sneads extends record string of state titles to 9!

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:53 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Sneads volleyball program proving once again it is the “biggest small-school” program in the country!

Head Coach Heather Edge and her Pirates taking to the floor at Suncoast Credit Union Arena Thursday against Taylor in the 1A State Championship match, and coming away with a 3-2 win, thus claiming a 9th consecutive state title.

The Pirates, with a relatively new group of players, a smaller group than what they’ve traditionally put on the floor in recent years, took command of the match by winning the first two sets. Taylor, a team that won 23 of 26 matches coming in, rallied like a good team should, and won sets three and four. That forced a 5th and deciding set.

The Pirates controlled that final set from its start, and eventually winning that set by four points. So the set scores end up 25-20, 25-23, 19-25, 17-25 and 15-11. So Sneads winning the title 3-2.

“It’s been hard to find the words to describe the feeling of just coming to the state championship game, and now that we have actually played it, I’m still at a loss.” coach Edge said shortly after winning her 4th title in as many seasons as the head coach of the program. “I guess to sum it all up, ‘Proud’ would be my number one choice. The way they persevered. I think we got a little flat there, but in the fifth set, I think we really showed what we are all about, that grit, playing with a chip on our shoulder, that was Sneads volleyball that you saw in the fifth set.”

One of the team’s three seniors, Jada Coleman talked about the extra sense of pride this medal, this ring, means for her. “I’m really excited because a lot of people thought this was the year that we weren’t going to get it because we were such a different team, so small and everything. We really all worked together and I’m so proud of my team.”

“We had a lot of youngsters on the floor tonight.” added coach Edge. “Some that have never been in arenas this big. Some that have never played in districts, regionals, or state, so you know, it was an overwhelming experience, but I think with the leadership, we were able to get it done and keep everybody level headed, and then in the second set, when we got in a bind, we used a time out to remind them that it’s just one point at a time. You’re not going to win the whole set just in one play, so just continue to chip away and stay focused.”

As for racking up a record 9th straight title, the coach admits this team, these players, did it without the kind of support a team that’s succeeded at this level might expect. Perhaps an indication the team, the program is a victim of its own success. “It is hard to be a state champion, but I think it’s even harder to continue to be a state champion. I’ve told you before that we don’t really have the fan base that we used to or that the 2013 team did, and so, sometimes, we have to make our own atmosphere and our own energy. There’s really, with that, even more obstacles in our way to be successful, and it’s really quite inspiring how the girls can find a way to do it on their own at times.”

The team enjoying a team dinner and spending the night in Fort Myers. It will head home Friday morning and arrive back in Sneads sometime Friday afternoon.

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