BRECKENRIDGE — The Heartland Hitters, Bangs’ club volleyball team comprised of Bangs High School players, built on the success they enjoyed all summer, as they rallied to force a third game against Wylie Gold on Saturday. The Bangs girls won the second match against Wylie Gold to force a third game for the tournament title.
“This last win against Wylie was epic,” said Hitters’ coach Susan Westfall. “They have been state champions several times. Our girls just refused to lose that game.”
The club season ended for the Bangs girls, who are already looking forward to two-a-days and the regular season in August.
Bangs head coach Colleen Westfall, who was an observer due to UIL rules, commented on the level of dedication and enthusiasm of her Bangs volleyball players.
“They basically dedicated their entire summer to practicing, working out and going to games,” Colleen Westfall said. “We will definitely build on this as we get ready to go into the regular season and two-a-days.”
The Heartland Hitters finished the first season of the West Texas Summer Tour (WTST) Club Volleyball League with their last tournament in Breckenridge. “When we began this league, we were just trying to provide an opportunity for the Bangs Lady Dragon volleyball players to improve their skills. We never thought it would include over 130 players, 19 teams and 14 area schools.” Susan Westfall said.
Other clubs in the league included Brownwood, Breckenridge, Munday, Wylie Gold / Wylie Purple, Bronte, Dublin Varsity/ Dublin JV, De Leon, Stephenville Bees (Blue) / Stephenville Gold / Honeybees, Moran, Gustine, Ranger, Tolar and Jim Ned.
This past weekend, the Heartland Hitters divided into two teams to insure as much play as possible for the upperclassmen and lowerclassmen.
The Heartland Hitters Black team was made up of seniors and one sophomore — Cheyanne Lovelady, Kinsie Ward, Kassidy Adams, Jaylee Roberts, Morgan Morales, Kady Kyle and Callie Sprowls – and was coached by Truman Westfall.
The Heartland Hitters Aqua team, coached by Susan Westfall, was comprised of Amber Jones, Taylor Francois, Nichole Spivey, Raelee Francois, Allie Keller and Elizabeth Pettit.
Paige Batteas and Alyassa Rosales missed the tournament due to injuries.
Based on pool play results, the Heartland Hitters Black competed in the championship bracket and the Aqua team was in the consolation bracket.
Black cranked up bracket play by challenging Wylie Gold and lost in two. (21- 25, 23-25)
The Black team then played Munday, winning a pair of games 25-21 and 25-16.
In the final round of games Saturday night, Wylie Gold lost its second game which led to a rematch with the Heartland Hitters. The Bangs girls wanted revenge against Wylie, a perennial volleyball powerhouse for beating them earlier in the day. The first match went to Wylie, 25-23, but the second game took Bangs 30 points to win (30-28). The third game was just as intense and again was won by a narrow margin, 15-13. The girls were elated to beat a team that has UIL State experience and had just beat them earlier.
“This was the best game, I know, we have ever played,” said senior Kinsie Ward. “We were fighting for every point, going after every ball, hitting the floor, and kept each other together. It’s hard to beat us when we refuse to give up!”
Added Kassidy Adams, “I have never worked that hard, ever. I had sweat dripping off my legs and by the third game I was so exhausted I was grunting to get the kill.”
Bracket play began against Moran. It only took two quick games to advance to the winner’s side.
Against the Dublin varsity, Dublin had too many tools on offense as the Bangs girls dropped two games, 25-22 and 25-18. The Aqua team played a man down and couldn’t cover all the corners.
Once the consolation side of the bracket started, Aqua began play with Breckenridge. It took Aqua three games to get past the Lady Buckaroos.
Setter Raelee Francois said, “There were only six of us so no one ever stepped off the floor for any of our games and we had to depend on each other for every play. Our good defense and passes led to placement sets and great kills. We have always been good friends but when you play six games in one day you become great teammates.”
In Aqua’s final game, De Leon beat Bangs.
“Having just given all we had during our battle with Breckenridge and then playing back to back, De Leon found us scrappy and a united team,” Susan Westfall said.
Westfall said it has been a great experience coaching the girls this summer and she now will turn over the reigns as her daughter, Colleen, takes over for two-a-days as Bangs gears up Aug. 5.
“We were not able to win our final game and take home a trophy but there was plenty of pride in a hard fought battle and growth and bonding as a team,” Susan Westfall said.