WEST — Copperas Cove’s season ended, but the tradition carries on.
The Lady Bulldawgs saw the most successful season in program history come to a close Friday evening, falling to Class 6A No. 4 Prosper in straight sets in the area round of the playoffs.
While it will be difficult for future teams to eclipse the school-record 41 victories earned this year, Copperas Cove head coach Cari Lowery knows the remaining players are poised for greatness because her seniors are ensuring it.
“Lady Dawg volleyball is not about what any one player is doing,” she said. “It’s about what you’re doing for the kids coming behind you.
“After the game, our juniors were telling the seniors what all they’d done for them. ... These seniors have done so much for this program.”
Following a 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 loss to the Lady Eagles, however, Copperas Cove’s seniors must move on.
Early on, it appeared the roles could have easily been reversed.
The teams went back and forth through the first 19 points as Proper held a slim 10-9 advantage before the Lady Bulldawgs used an 8-3 outburst to claim a 17-13 lead.
But following a timeout, the Lady Eagles responded by winning 12 of the next 14 points to claim the set.
Then, Prosper (34-9) opened the second set with a 9-3 run and broke the set open with a 12-2 run, and in the third set, Copperas Cove (41-4) kept things close early, but the Lady Eagles closed with a 9-3 run to propel themselves into the regional quarterfinals.
“We had two rotations that we couldn’t block and we couldn’t score,” Lowery said, “and that was the difference.
“You can’t have breakdown on two rotations where you can’t defend or score. They’re too good, and they’ll pick you apart.”
With the victory, the 2017 Class 5A champions advance into the regional quarterfinals, where they will play the Rockwall-Plano winner next week.
The Lady Bulldawgs, on the other hand, are forced to turn their attention toward next season, when they will attempt to reach the postseason for a 14th consecutive season.
They will do so without eight seniors, though.
Jada Close, Mahal Thorpe, Aidan Chace, Kamryn Ash, Alex Brito, Christina Pettigrew, Aviyon Wilborn and Kristen Wasiak each completed their high school careers with the loss.
While Lowery knows the program’s tradition will carry on, she also understands things will never be the same again.
“This is my 24th year as a head coach,” Lowery said, “and this one of my favorite teams.
“It’s hard not to get choked up when I talk about them, because they are just special.”