The Lady Braves qualified for next week’s State tournament and also earned the #3 seed from the 4A West Regionals which took place in Green River this past weekend.
After defeating Rock Springs 3-1 on Friday morning and advancing to the semifinals, Star Valley fell to Kelly Walsh 3-1 to get knocked into the other side of the bracket. The Trojans went on to lose to Cody in five sets in the championship.
Star Valley bounced back with a pair of Saturday wins as they swept both Jackson to eliminate the Lady Broncs and then the Riverton Wolverines to pick up the #3 seed out of the West.
“We obviously had kind of a slow start but with all the illnesses and injuries the girls fought hard,” stated head coach Suni Brown. “They played back to back matches on Saturday and I think it takes more than people realize to come through that so I was just super proud of them.”
“These best of five matches are long and two of them in a row after playing two matches the day before; it’s a tough deal,” Brown added. “I told them in that final set that we need to be done now so we could finish it with just enough legs to get it done.”
• Underdogs in Casper
Their reward will be the Laramie Plainsmen who fell to Thunder Basin in the 4A East championship match as the Thunderbirds handed them their first loss of the season. Laramie (30-1) held down the top spot in the Wyopreps.com Coaches and Media Poll for the entire season. Star Valley (27-8) is no stranger to the upper echelon of the 4A Class this season. They met 4A East Champion Thunder Basin (31-4) in Afton in early September, losing 25-22 & 25-21. They defeated Campbell County (27-8) in the same tournament (25-21 & 25-22) and also picked up a win over 4A West Champion Cody (24-2) the following week in Afton (25-23, 27-29, 25-21, 25-22) during the regular season.
Brown said the team is viewing the match-up against the team that’s been ranked #1 all season as an opportunity rather than a liability.
“We’re surprised but our goal all along has been state champs so why not beat them when we’re fresh and maybe they aren’t expecting us,” she added. “We also know that they are beatable so we have to be fearless going in there.”
The Lady Braves will face Laramie on Thursday at 4:30 from the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper. SVI Media will have audio-only coverage of the matches at svinews.com. Brandy Taylor and Patience Jenkins will be on the mic for the call from the Oil City.
The ladies appear to be as healthy as they can be heading into the final weekend of the season.
“There’s your typical rolled ankles and aches and pains but the girls are being smart,” Brown added. “I think there’s a fatigue that comes after being sick that is part of our recovery. I’m hopeful we will be feeling pretty good by game time Thursday.”