The Hereford High School's volleyball program has its official nickname listed as the Lady Whitefaces.
There in-school nickname is "The Herd."
Well, the Herd rolled over the Carthage Bulldogs in the first Class 4A state semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.
Hereford (35-14) swept Carthage (41-5), 3-0 (set scores of 25-8, 25-19, 25-23).
The Bulldogs, at state for only the second time in the program's history (they lost in the semifinals back in 2003), made a push in Set 3 to extend their season. They had leads of 20-17 and 21-19, thanks to a great passing game.
But back came The Herd, as 6-foot-3 sophomore Taytum Snow (13 kills and four total blocks) made a kill and two total blocks to start the comeback. After a Carthage kill made it 24-23 Hereford, Stow finished off the 6-2 game-ending run with her final kill.
Hereford will play for its sixth state championship in 10 trips to state.
"This is such a great experience for these girls," stated Hereford head coach Catherine Foerster, who played on 1999 and 2001 Hereford state title teams. "I didn't really tell them much about my playing days although the community did have former state champion players send notes to this year's squad."
Senior Darcy Dodd, who finished with 13 kills, 14 digs, two service aces and four assists, agreed with her coach.
"The outreach for the community is awesome," Dodd said. "We must have had the whole community out there today. We don't necessarily need the crowd noise for support, but you could tell our crowd was loud here today."
One might also say this 2019 Hereford squad has a bit of a similarity to a "herd."
"We admit it, we're as superstitious as a baseball team," Foerster revealed, chuckling. "I've worn this same (red velvet) outfit the entire playoff run, and have yet to wash it. Y'all stay away from me, it might be kind of smelly."
Foerster then continued, "Our girls have been wearing the same warmup outfits - without washing them - for the playoffs; some of them haven't washed them for the entire season. That's why we look like a band of misfits during warmups!"
Whatever it is, it's certainly working as Hereford will take on the winner of the Fulshear/Kennedale semifinal on Saturday for the 4A state title.
About her team, Carthage head coach Dawn Stewart said: "These girls had a great season. They have nothing to hang their heads over; they set a goal of getting to state and they accomplished that. Next year our goal will be to get here and win the title."
Carthage was led by senior Cami Hicks, who tallied 12 kills and one block. Teammate Faith Kruebbe chipped in with nine kills and seven digs while Kristen Stewart totalled 30 assists, five kills, eight digs and one ace.
A season full of effort – by both coaches and student-athletes. A season full of travel – by teams, families and fans. This past weekend, a lot of tears – both of joy and of sorrow.
All of it leading up to this week.
Welcome to State Tournament Week for UIL volleyball.
To use a basketball term, it's Final Four time for 24 teams in the six UIL classifications – from small-town 1A up to the big-school Class 6A.
Here's some information and thoughts about this year's tournament and the results of each Regional Finals match, with some personal notes about Regionals Semifinals to follow: