Gulf Coast returns from nationals with lessons learned, optimism for 2020

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The rafters at Gulf Coast's Harrison Field Harrison Field House are crowded with decades of banners—conference titles, state titles, and of course national championships—mostly thanks to the basketball teams.

They'll need to make some space for the volleyball team up there.

The second season under coach Scott Allen is far and away the best in program history, ending with two wins and a tenth place finish at the national tournament in Charleston, West Virginia.

They returned to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Sunday afternoon with lessons learned and all smiles.

"Very excited for the program, first time in history to get there," Allen said. "We were just learning some of the time frames. How much time to do certain things and how that actually plays out. We're happy that we got the experience. We didn't get the outcome that we wanted, but we got the freshmen to be there and to learn from it, so we're looking forward to next year."

The 12 freshman already have sights set on next year.

"It's really exciting," Emma Richards said. "It gives you a lot of hope for the future because we can do it against and we can go back better and now we know what to expect, so it's going to be really good. I'm excited to get back in the gym and get ready to go back."

Richards earned All-Tournament Team honors.

Her former teammate at Blountstown, Sarah Shuler, will join her as a freshman at GCSC next season.

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