Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Coppell claims 2nd-straight 5A volleyball state championship
Team battles New Braunfels to win 2nd straight title
GARLAND — Coppell may have cruised to an easy sweep in its semifinal Friday night, but coach Julie Green knew Saturday’s championship wouldn’t come the same way.
And even after dominating the first two sets in the title match against New Braunfels, she was certain her team would be challenged.
“New Braunfels only lost four matches all year,” Green said. “They’re not coming all the way up here to get swept without a fight.”
Indeed, an undersized, overpowered New Braunfels squad battled back to force a deciding fifth set. But Coppell proved to be too much in the end, claiming a second straight state championship with a 25-14, 25-17, 23-25, 22-25, 15-10 victory at the Curtis Culwell Center.
New Braunfels had a 10-8 lead in the deciding set before Coppell rattled off seven consecutive points to close out the match.
Senior outside hitter Erica Bohannon had five of her 21 kills and five of her team-high 14 digs in the fifth set. She also finished the day with four aces, 10 assists and two blocks.
Bohannon was named the championship MVP for her standout performance.
“Going back to back to end my senior year is the most incredible thing ever,” Bohannon said. “It was kind of shocking we didn’t sweep, but we came back, didn’t give up and fought as hard as we could.”
Coppell (49-3) hadn’t lost a set in the six playoff matches that preceded Saturday’s final.
New Braunfels (46-5) reached the state tournament on the strength of its defense, coach Robin Gerlich said, but her team needed the better part of three sets to capitalize on that strength.
Libero Daniella Villarreal and setter Jessica Waldrip combined for 47 digs to resurrect New Braunfels. Waldrip also had 37 assists and 10 kills.
New Braunfels has its fair share of talent — Villarreal and Waldrip are committed to Texas-San Antonio, and outsider hitter Neka Cuppetilli is committed to Baylor. But no team in Texas packs the power of Coppell, which signed four players to Division I programs on Wednesday.
Even so, New Braunfels never considered itself an underdog at the state tournament.
“We didn’t, but everyone else did,” said Gerlich, whose team was ranked 16th in the state when the playoffs began. “All along we felt like we had an opportunity. And we did right until the end.”
Bohannon had a kill and two aces during Coppell’s 7-0 run to close out the match. Chiaka Ogbogu sealed the deal with the last of her four blocks.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” Green said. “We had several kids that were here last year that helped get us back. But there were so many young kids that stepped up, too. They all got the job done tonight.”
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN