VERSAILLES – The Versailles community came together Sunday afternoon in the school’s Cafetorium to honor the 2017 Lady Tigers State Championship volleyball team.
“It just shows the support and how proud everybody is,” Versailles Coach Kenzie Bruggeman told the Early Bird Newspaper. “I think the girls will even realize how much of an impact they have on the community and to have that support is indescribable.”
Versailles high school principal Roger McEldowney welcomed family and friends to the event while addressing those in attendance.
“You had your ups and downs during the season but after that loss at Coldwater that terrible night, you strung together nine straight wins and avenged that loss in the state championship game,” McEldowney said to a cheering crowd. “I’m proud of you, your parents are proud of you and the entire community of Versailles is proud of you – congratulations.”
“Seniors; we will all miss watching you guys play,” continued McEldowney. “All your unique qualities that enable each of you to be a key contributor to this team and I can’t think of a better ending or memory than watching you guys pile up in the middle of the floor after you won that final point. Thank you seniors for all your memories and congratulations to the entire team on the state championship.”
Mr. McEldowney introduced Versailles head varsity coach Kenzie Bruggeman to the appreciative Versailles fans.
“I cried the whole way here so I look terrible,” said Bruggeman. “I think it just finally hit me. These seniors mean the world to me and I think it is just finally setting in all the work that we put in – it just feels so rewarding.”
The team’s four sophomore members were introduce; Avery McEldowney, Raegen Shaffer, Caitlin McEldowney and Lindsey Winner.
Four junior team members were introduced next; Kelsey Custenborder, Alexa Didier, Elizabeth Ording and Chloe Francis.
Coach Bruggeman spoke of her seniors before Mr. McEldowney introduced the seven Lady Tigers seniors.
“My first year was when they were freshmen,” Bruggeman noted. “I was with them the whole entire time and I don’t think they know what they mean to me, the relationship I have with them. I can’t describe it and I am so proud of them.”
“To see their growth mentally is what I am most proud of,” continued Bruggeman. “I just hope you carry that on and see how volleyball can translate to the real life and when you go to college.”
Lady Tigers Seniors: No. 2 Kami McEldowney, No. 8 Kate Stammen, No. 10 Payton Berger, No. 12 Cassie Peters, No. 15 Ellen Peters, No. 22 Mallory Marshal and No. 32 Danielle Winner.
“Hands down, the reason we got better in tournament was because of the coaches,” said Bruggeman as the Lady Tigers Coaching staff was introduced – Audrey Stammen, Leah Prenger and Kristin Brandon.
“Three managers that tagged along and they helped out so much,” Coach Bruggeman said of Cami Griesdorn, Caroline Anthony and Mia Eversole.
Coach Bruggeman conclude the afternoon event sharing the few hours leading up to the 2017 State Championship win over the Lady Cavaliers of Coldwater.
“Practices got way more intense,” said Bruggeman. “Kudos to them. We were practicing yesterday (Saturday) morning at UD and we were saying what we needed to do against Coldwater and what needed to go down and how we were going to block them and what defense we needed to do.”
“Every single girl was saying; ok, so at this point we need to do this, and here we need to do this,” continued Bruggeman. “We were five hours before game time and they were still trying to get better.”
“As a coach that’s unbelievable and so inspiring. That is why I coach. I want to pull that out of you guys and just to see that and to know that you guys wanted to get better on your last day of the season. You could have gone so many different avenues,” Bruggeman said as she addressed the team. “I said that in the interview after we lost that first game. We could have went either way. We could have absolutely crumbled. Instead we stepped up, you guys stepped up and you took it into your own hands and trusted your training, so I can’t be more proud of that – so awesome.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Versailles High School Principal Roger McEldowney introduces the 2017 State Champion Versailles Lady Tigers volleyball team Sunday afternoon to an appreciative hometown crowd. (Gaylen Blosser photo)