WICHITA, Kan. -

At the start of the season, the Kapaun Mt. Carmel girls’ volleyball team set high goals for themselves. They wanted to go undefeated, win City League, and take first at the state competition.

“From the very beginning of the season, our goal as a team was to make it to state and finish first,” senior Molly Kush said. “We each also set individual goals which we hoped to accomplish along the way.”

With nine seniors on the team, many felt that expectations were high to do well during their final year of high school volleyball.

“There were a lot of challenges this season mainly because we had so much pressure on us to be perfect,” senior Gabby Torline said. “We had nine seniors, all of which are amazing players, and we were expected to be perfect so it made it kind of stressful for us.”

Although they felt the pressure to perform well, having a team made up of primarily seniors was also an advantage, Torline said.

“[Our seniors] brought some really good experience to the team and great leadership,” Torline said. “Also, just how much we cared about the team as a whole. Everyone wanted to do well for the sake of this team nothing just for the individual.”

After tying Bishop Carroll for first in the City League, the Crusaders went on to win sub-state and advance to the state competition. At state, Kapaun lost to St. James in the semi-final match, then beat Andover for a 3rd place finish and a final record of 38-6.

What allowed the team to be successful this year, head coach Terri Hessman said, was being united and working toward the same goals.

“The team was successful because they shared common goals, and worked toward them every day,” head coach Terri Hessman said. “The team was very talented, so they pushed each other to get better. They had a lot of fun together. When they played, you could see that they were good friends.”

Although they fell short of their goal of winning state, the Crusaders are still proud of how they finished the season.

“I am unbelievably happy with how we finished this season,” Kush said. “Of course, we wish that we could have placed higher in state, but 3rd is something to be proud of. Our team was successful this year because we truly came together as a team even through diversity. We basically became a family and learned to play for each other.”