But for the No. 2 Lady Warriors to win the opening-round affair over third-seeded First Presbyterian Academy in front of the OMA crowd, it made their first trip to the state playoffs in program history all the more sweeter.
After all, the Lady Warriors didn’t look like a bunch that hadn’t been there before. OMA actually made quick work of the Highlanders, sweeping the match in three games — 25-12, 25-15, 25-15.
“Oh, this means so much. We’re proud of them. They’ve come a long way from last year to this year. I mean, they just gelled and I’m very proud of them,” noted OMA coach Trenace Dave.
Dave said this year’s team has been energetic and lively all season long, noting how the girls always pick each other up out on the court.
“They just love this game. I can see it in them. That makes coaching so much easier,” Dave said.
The Lady Warriors played even with FPA for much of the first game before pulling away at the end, using a 14-2 run to close it out. In Game 2, OMA took its first lead at 5-4 and never looked back en route to the 10-point win. In the final game, the Lady Warriors held off a late flurry from the Highlanders, where junior Jessie Drew delivered the game-winning kill to kick off the celebration.
Drew and freshman Cassidy Cason led the charge on Saturday, with the junior posting 11 kills, eight digs and four service aces, while Cason (19 digs, 11 kills, 4 service aces) performed well beyond her years.
Additionally, Katie Blackmon added 13 digs and Anna Piecoro recorded eight digs for Oak Mountain.
And in their first time playing on the big stage, if the Lady Warriors had any jitters, it sure didn’t show.
“They were a little bit nervous. Just a little bit. I just said, ‘Play your game.’ And coach [Deborah] Fields said the same thing. ‘Just play your game, play for what you love and keep it together,’” Dave said. “I think they showed it.”