AMHERST, Ohio — The Amherst girls' volleyball team heads to Dayton Wednesday in preparation for the OHSAA Division I state volleyball tournament.
The last time the team earned a spot in the state tournament was 30 years ago in 1991.
The Comets are set to take on top-ranked Powell Olentangy Liberty at Wright State University after defeating Saint Joseph Academy on Saturday.
“It’s been a fantastic journey that we haven't probably all settled in yet as to how much we've been going through and accomplishing,” said head coach Felicia Sanchez. “We’ve dealt with your typical adversities at the beginning of the season, but once the postseason started, it's just kind of all clicking on the same page and it's exciting to watch.”
Sanchez is an Amherst native, who played throughout junior high and high school, eventually going to play at the collegiate level in Kentucky. In her 20-year coaching career, she says there’s something special about this group.
“I can honestly speak for my heart. This is the first team that I have coached, that they truly just play for each other. They are happy for each other. They have all bought in.” Sanchez said. “They are truly the most unselfish play for everything, gritty, hardworking team.”
The Comets are led by two key pieces, senior Laken Voss and junior Nia Hall. After enduring a marathon season that began with practices and workouts in May, they’re excited to see that hard work paying off.
“I think just us girls having fun together, it just brings out like the best of us when we play volleyball together,” Voss said.
“I just think being around each other like the chemistry that we have is what made us go this far,” Hall added. “All of us together believing in each other, pushing each other through the good and the bad times is what, like each player on the team is the glue for the team. So, each one of us has a role.”
The duo says after a year’s worth of pandemic-related changes, they’re excited to advance to the state tournament and perhaps more importantly, play in front of fans.
“I’m always so surprised to see how many people actually show up, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every single game. It's amazing,” Voss said.
That crowd will be growing even bigger by the time the girls take the court on Thursday afternoon. The school district announced they will close Thursday to allow as many fans as possible to make it to Dayton.
“Being able to play in a packed gym. It's made a huge impact,” Sanchez said. “Our prep section is the best in the state of Ohio, and they are the seventh man on our team.”
The team will parade through the high school at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon before departing for Dayton by 5:30 p.m.
School officials News 5 spoke with Monday morning said they were excited to see the outpouring of support, with at least three pep buses full of friends, family and fans making the trip.
The Comets matchup with the Patriots is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.
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