Capturing a state championship is the ultimate accomplishment for a high school program.
Obviously, it’s not an easy thing to do.
Winning back-to-back state titles is even harder.
Whether the team feels they’re defending the crown or striving for another, a repeat at state is a rare occurrence.
But that’s the goal for the Borgia volleyball team.
After winning the Class 3 title in 2013, Borgia returns a solid core from that history-making team. And with that, a repeat is not out of the question.
“Last year was an amazing experience,” Borgia Coach Brad Bruns said. “To watch the girls celebrate was amazing. But I know it’s harder the second time. You try not to focus too much on the repeat. You have to take it up a notch because the expectations are higher. The expectations are always high here. Anything less than a state championship is less than what they want. That’s a good thing. But I want the kids to be relaxed and just do the best of their ability.”
Borgia had a season to remember in 2013, finishing 33-3-2 overall. The Lady Knights won the Hermann Tournament, won the silver bracket at the Springfield Classic, took third place at the Borgia Tournament and won a district championship for the 17th year in a row and for the 25th time in 27 seasons. The season was capped off with a state championship.
The 2013 championship was the 10th in program history and first since 2004. Bruns was an assistant coach on that team to Mike Tyree.
Borgia’s other state titles were in 1987, '88, '89, '90, '92, '93, '95 and 2000.
No team has repeated as Class 3 state champions since Archbishop O’Hara of Kansas City did it from 2007-10.
Bruns feels this year’s group has the potential to pull off a repeat.
“We have good senior leadership this year, which is great, and it will depend on how we progress,” he said. “We have to push beyond. The kids work hard, they give me their all every day in practice and they’re a lot of fun. They have a good time, but they’re here to work hard. They have great attitudes.”
Another good sign: Borgia returns nine key players from last year’s title team.
Borgia returns both outside hitters, sophomore Audrey Arand and senior Jordan Kriete.
Rightside hitter Emma Kriete, a junior, is back, but will miss the first few weeks due to a back injury.
Borgia returns the heart of its defense, including 2013 libero Aliva Brinker and defensive specialists Allie Marquart and Molly Arand. All three are seniors.
Three young middle hitters are back and all earned varsity experience in 2013. They are juniors Elizabeth Frederick, Elizabeth Mattli and sophomore Meredith Roach.
Will the Lady Knights repeat? Only time will tell.
Either way, it looks like the Borgia volleyball program is set for another stellar season.
“We should be strong again this year,” Bruns said. “I’m not making any predictions. But if the chemistry is as good as it was last year, we can go pretty far.”