"We Were Still Going To Be Here": State Power Returns To Semifinal After Different Season Trek
Dripping Springs and New Braunfels Canyon met for the third time on the volleyball court in 68 days on Saturday December 5, 2020. This time with the UIL 5A Region IV championship on the line at Buda Johnson High School. The New Braunfels Canyon Cougars ended Dripping Springs' 90-game district win streak with a 3-2 win on September 29 and later completed the district sweep of the Tigers with a 3-0 win on October 24.
Dripping Springs also got swept by Alamo Heights in UIL 26-5A play in 2020, but bounced back with a 3-0 UIL 5A Region IV quarterfinal win against the Mules on November 27. The Tigers also avenged their losses against New Braunfels Canyon on Saturday when they recorded a match win in four sets.
"We talked about seeing ourselves here," said Dripping Springs head volleyball coach Michael Kane. "When you lose the district championship, we won so many in a row, a lot of people gave up on us. People stopped talking about us. All we talked about in the locker room was our path is just different. We were still going to be here. Against Canyon is what I thought. We talked about who we would see first round. We talked about who we would see second round. Every single round, we talked about where we'd be. And our effort, kudos to all these kids. Along the way, we've had so many kids step up."
Dripping Springs had less prep for district competition in 2020 compared to past seasons, so it took its players some time to find a groove. The Tigers have finally reached that point, as evident by their current nine-game win streak.
"We lost 30 preseason matches," said Kane. "We had five this year. With a team that's young, we knew that our best volleyball was going to be as we gained experience along the way. Hats off to these kids. They never stopped believing. Every single day, they show up to the gym and grind. They understand the magnitude of our program. This program has been the most successful program in the last decade in Austin and that's hands down."
Dripping Springs defended that tradition with its win against New Braunfels Canyon. It jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the early part of the opening set and held off a Cougar rally for a 25-19 victory in set one. The Tigers then barely lost set two 25-23, but bounced back for a 25-19 win in the third set and completed the match with a 25-23 battle in the fourth set.
Dripping Springs won a tight 4th set against New Braunfels Canyon in the UIL 5A Region IV Volleyball Final to advan… https://t.co/INWJpcl1XM— VYPE Austin (@VYPE Austin)1607225757.0
Now, Dripping Springs turns its attention to 2019 UIL 4A state champ Fulshear in a 2020 UIL 5A state semifinal match.
"You get to the final four, every one of these teams is so ridiculous," said Kane. "I know that everybody that's there is a really strong program. We're just happy to be there."
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