For The Yukon Review
Yukon had what they wanted.
After playing its way into the regional championship, they were one set away from earning a spot in the state tournament.
However, standing in the Millers’ way was an Edmond Memorial squad they had lost to in the first contest of the season.
Yukon fought Edmond for four sets, but it was the Bulldogs who prevailed 3-1 and advance to the 6A state volleyball championships.
“Fought all the way to the end,” Yukon coach Rachel Allred said. “That’s the best feeling regional we’ve had in a long time. As a group, especially for my seniors, there have been years where we’ve been ranked higher and come in with more wins and just fallen apart at regionals.
“ I feel like this year we had the fewest wins we’ve had in a while, came in ranked kind of low and the fight just didn’t go away.”
To get to the regional championship, the Millers had to come back and beat Ponca City in the semifinals in five sets. They then turned around and faced Edmond, which had won earlier in the afternoon.
Allred said she’d rather be the team that was playing right away instead of waiting around. However, it was the Bulldogs who came out and were more focused and deliberate.
The Bulldogs took the opening set 25-13.
However, Yukon stormed back in the second set. Led by Brianna Worth, Addison Wimmer, Katelynn Biswell and Katie Clark, the Millers pounded the Bulldogs 25-18.
“We shut them down at the net,” Allred said. “But we didn’t want that to be a lucky set. We didn’t want them to think they just had too many mistakes.”
It was the exact opposite in the third set. Yukon came apart and Edmond took advantage. They pulled out a 25-10 victory.
Yukon had to win the fourth set to keep their season alive. Despite falling behind 18-10, the Millers got to within four points before Edmond closed the night out with a 25-20 win.
“That third set was pretty ugly, but then came back on that fourth one and showed determination and no quit,” Allred said. “They really impressed me. Overcoming that temptation to get frustrated, to get mad. Or just kind of give up and be ready for it to be over, and they never had that attitude.”
While the Millers didn’t end the season the way they wanted or even with a winning record. They created a foundation that Allred sees turning into something special.
“I feel like every year we get a step closer and closer,” Allred said. We always want to be the final step and get there. But this year it felt like it’s the closest we’ve ever been.”