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State runners-up look for redemption in 2021

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Crawford is no stranger to success in Volleyball. The team has made the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons, winning the state title as recently as 2019.

But last year, the team lost in the championship game, and while they have thought about that loss a lot this offseason, they haven’t really had a chance to dwell on it.

Head Coach Jeff Coker tells me, “In a small school it is always just moving forward. Whether you win the last one or lose the last one, you’re going to start your next sport as soon as you get back.”

For many of the Lady Pirates, that next sport was softball. The girls had a great season in the diamond and found themselves playing in another championship game... only to lose by one run falling short of the title again.

Senior Kylie Ray chuckles, “A lot of heartbreak. Definitely. Hopefully it won’t happen again this year. I don’t know if I can handle that two years in a row.”

As the team moves forward, Coach Coker has them reading the book Training Camp, by Jon Gordon.

It teaches the girls not to worry about the past, or look too far into the future.

Coker explains, “He has eleven traits for the best of the best. It focuses on seizing the moment and making sure, whether it’s a practice moment or a game moment, we are all in on that one moment.”

Some student athletes may look at this book as an extra homework assignment, but the girls love it.

Ray says, “It helps that we are reading it all together, at the same time, so we can discuss it in the locker room and have those tough conversations, and hold each other accountable on the court.”

Senior Lexi Moody adds, “It has definitely helped us come a lot closer as a team. And work harder and play for each other. To get to read the book and see how it relates to us and get to read it together really helps us.”

Most of this team has played together since elementary school, so the underclassman would love to give their seniors another championship ring.

Coach Coker says, “With all the time that Katie, Lexi, and Kylie have all put in, if we could send them out on a high note that would be awesome.”

“There are no words. I want to go out on a high note. I want another medal – a gold one, not a silver one,” says Ray with a laugh.

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