By JUSTIN RAINS
For the fifth-straight time, the Cayuga volleyball team is headed back to the regional tournament.
When all is said and done Saturday, the sixth-ranked Ladycats are hoping there is a third-straight trip to the state tournament in their future.
Cayuga tips off the regional tournament at 5 p.m. Friday against Hico at Weatherford High School. The Ladycats hope to use their regional tournament experience to their advantage.
“They’ve been there before and for a lot of teams, expectations are just to get there,” CHS coach Magen Humphreys said. “We want to go, but we want to win when we get there.”
Even though they are two wins away from getting there, the Ladycats are also driven by memories of the state tournament.
Each of the past two years has seen Cayuga bounced in the state semifinals. This year, they’re hoping that “the third time is the charm.”
“The past two years, we’ve just gone there and experienced it,” Humphreys said. “Just from practice, the main goal is to win the state tournament. I think the disappointment has left a bad taste in their mouth.”
Cayuga is peaking at just the right time, and it might have a lot to do with the resurgence of star hitter Shawnta Knox.
Knox had 23 kills to lead Cayuga in the regional quarterfinals over Thrall, and paired up with Danielle Anderson (21 kills vs. Thrall), the duo provide quite the formidable threat for opponents.
Humphreys said she expects Hico — which beat DeLeon, 3-1, in the regional quarterfinals — to be competitive.
She said they have two solid hitters in the middle, but are relatively new to the regional tournament stage.
Lindsay and Blum face off in the other regional semifinal, with the winners of the two matches meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday to decide who goes to state.
Last year, Cayuga swept Lindsay in the regional finals to earn a trip back to state.