Hulbert reached the top of a mountain last week, getting past what has been a nemesis.
The Riders’ volleyball team outlasted Class 3A 11th-ranked Salina in five sets (25-23, 25-23, 8-25, 13-25, 15-8) on Thursday, Sept. 21.
As far as Breanna Hill knows, it was the first time in program history that Hulbert has defeated Salina. And, it was a win that Hill and the program desperately needed.
“Since I have been at Hulbert, we haven’t beaten Salina. Especially all three teams – JH, JV, and varsity. I don’t think it’s ever been done in Hulbert volleyball history either,” Hill said. “So this was a big milestone for our program. To beat the No. 11 team in the state right now proved to themselves, their families, the community, and surrounding communities that they’ve got what it takes to be the team that sets a winning tradition here at Hulbert for the volleyball program. They are writing their own story. With one heart and a sound mind, they took the victory.”
“We needed this win. We have had a tough season so far,” Hill added “We have played eight top 10 teams and a 6A school. Our record is 8-13, most of our losses being close games. Many of my girls are also going through a lot right now personally. We have been talking about having strength through adversity and having fight no matter what. We can either let our trials and challenges be excuses or we can let them motivate us. We played as one and our leadership was steadfast, strong, and sturdy under pressure. Because of that, we had the greatest comeback in Hulbert volleyball history.”
Standouts in the win over Salina were junior middle hitter Maddy Potts, senior libero Gabby Cook, who had some key aces in the final set, and freshman middle hitter Aveah Gifford.
“[Maddy] has a heart condition so she has to be subbed out for a bit because she was playing so hard. But had a great game,” Hill said. “Had multiple untouched hits, blocks, and several untouched tips.
“[Gabby] got dig after dig. Really great serve receive and picked up the dumps in the deep corner. Even had a few points off back row hits. [Aveah’s] only a freshman, but competitive, aggressive, and athletic. She had multiple untouched hits, tips, blocks, and served the ball consistently.”
Hulbert followed the win over Salina with a sweep of Braggs the following day. The Riders close out their regular season with matches against Eagle Point, Tulsa Webster and Tahlequah-Sequoyah.
“I’m excited to see how we finish out,” Hill said. “We have three games left and then regionals. Their goal is to finish the season .500 or better and to win regionals. This win over Salina is going to help push them with confidence to accomplish those goals.
“When storms come, we need to have a solid foundation so that we don’t fall. I told my seniors that we need to be deeply rooted, like trees who aren’t swayed by any storm.”