It's probably not customary for teams to dance the 'Cupid Shuffle' before a big match. But based on the way the Olpe Eagles played Saturday in Hays at the Class 1A Division I championship, more teams may start considering it.
The Eagles blew past Hoxie in straight sets 25-11 and 25-17 in straight sets to advance to the title match.
Waiting for them on the other side was St. John, the two time defending state champions. The Tigers needed three sets to get past Centrailia 25-15, 20-25, 25-11.
The first set of the championship match was one for the ages. St. John had six set points and could not close the door. Olpe was finally able to put the set way at 32-30.
"It's just a mind set," said Eagles head coach Marilyn Stueve. "We've played a game to 35 this year. So our kids know what it's like to continue to pursue their goals."
That pursuit appeared to hit a road block when the second set went to the Tigers, but not without a fight 25-20.
"The nerves ar extraordinary," said junior Kayla McDougald. "Everyone is just hoping we don't mess up. We did pretty good as a team pulling together."
In the third and final set there was every bit the drama the first two did. Neither team could get the edge, but a late surge gave the Eagles a 25-22 advantage and the state title.
"It's really indescribable," said Stueve. "They've been so wonderful all year long and I am so pleased that they could achieve this ultimate goal."
For McDougald reaching that goal as a team is the most exciting part.
"It feels really good knowing that we all came together and played our part as a team and came together."
In the third place game it took three sets for Centrailia to beat Hoxie 23-25, 25-12, 25-11.