HISTORIC: Fulshear sweeps Hereford for program's first-ever UIL Volleyball State Championship
So much for being a "newbie."
The Fulshear Chargers' volleyball program, in just its third year of existence at the varsity level, exceeded all expectations (outside of their own) as they came to the UIL Class 4A state tournament and made their mark while, at the same time, making school history.
Coach Sydney Gotcher's Chargers swept a favored Hereford team in three sets (25-20, 25-18, 25-19 ) and grabbed the gold medal for a school that didn't exist five years ago (the school opened in 2016).
Fulshear finishes the season with an amazing 45-4 record while Hereford fell to 35-15 with the loss.
"I don't know if I really knew how good this team was this year," chuckled Gotcher, whose team didn't drop a single set in their six-match playoff run to the state championship. "There were times we'd take the floor and I'd wonder how the girls would handle a four-set or five-set match, yet they've been able to go out and dominate. I'm just as surprised as anyone about their ability to do so well."
Class 4A State Championship Match.. @FULSHEARVB#Chargers are your Class 4A State Champions! Chargers win in 3 sets (20, 18, 19) over #Hereford. #AlexisDacosta slammed the game-winner. @uiltexas@UIL_AD@vypehouston@AustinTGCA@FULSHEARVB@jokoch09@FanstandATX@herdATspic.twitter.com/7YuFEVYLvl
— KMACChuck (@KMACChuck) November 23, 2019
Ellie Echter, a four-year senior, said, "This feels really cool! There were about eight people in the program when we started it four years ago; we all had a lot of volleyball experience outside of high school, we just had to learn how to put that experience to use by developing chemistry with each other."
Sophomore libero Ava Underwood declared, "We knew we could come to state and make an impact. This team is amazing; we love each other. To be able to not drop a single set in the playoffs shows how much we played well together.
"We're going to miss the seniors and their leadership. We have a lot of (returnees) so we'll have to get back to work."
The Chargers were challenged in all three sets, escaping with late scoring runs in Set 1. Hereford took exception and ran out to a quick 6-2 lead in Set 2.
Fulshear battled back and chipped away at the lead. They eventually tied it at 9-9, then used kills by Ellie Echter and Madeline Morrow and an ace from Brooklyn Dacosta to go up 12-10; Echter then hammered the hardwood again for a 13-10 lead. Overall it was an 11-4 scoring run. Echter and Alexis Dacosta combined for seven kills from there as Fulshear finished the set on a 12-8 spurt and won, 25-18.
Fulshear slowly but surely built up a lead throughout the third and final set.
They posted leads of 6-3 and 11-7 before grabbing a 19-11 lead on an 8-4 scoring run. Tournament MVP Alexis Dacosta then drove home the winning point with her 19th kill of the match to cap it off. Dacosta added 15 digs and one assist to her totals.
Echter hammered 19 kills, dug out three balls, served up two aces and had one assist while teammate Ava Underwood tallied 10 digs and one assist. Brooklyn Dacosta dished out 43 assists and made 15 digs while serving up an ace, making one block and getting two kills. Rebecca Ferrari had six digs and two aces and Sylar Voskuhl chipped in four kills, a block and a dig.
Hereford was led by Darcy Dodd (eight ills, 12 digs and two aces), Rainey Aven (15 assists, eight digs, and one kill) and Alyssa Vallejo (10 digs, two assists and one kill).