Nocona's volleyball team saw the same roadblock ahead. Denver City had knocked out the Lady Indians in the regional semifinals the past two years.
So, entering the 2011 regional semi's, there stood Denver City on the horizon. This time around, Nocona answered with a straight-sets sweep to earn a spot in Saturday's regional final.
"To get past this little bump, it's just amazing," senior Haylee Diehl said Friday.
After taking the monkey off their backs, the Lady Indians faced off against a Bushland squad that swept Holliday, Nocona's district rival, to earn the other regional final spot.
The pair of teams traded big points and big plays throughout the first set, with Nocona pulling ahead late to win it 25-20.
Bushland bounced right back though, dominating the second set 25-10.
The third set mirrored the first, with Nocona winning again 25-20.
After trailing early in the fourth, Nocona bounced back and gained the lead it would never relinquish. Head coach Sandy Raymond knew it too, saying that she felt her team was heading to state after taking a 21-19 lead.
Nocona took the set 25-20, earning the trip to the state semifinals.
"I was just so excited. I didn't even know what to do," junior Allie Hackley said. "I just wanted to jump and hug everybody.
Hackley led the way with 27 kills, while Diehl added 16 kills, 23 assists and four blocks.
After the match, seniors Dayna Young and Alicia Walker reflected on all the hard work the girls put into the season, from preseason to now. Young had 13 digs and nine kills.
"We're just excited to do all this together and spend our last year at the state tournament," Walker said.
"I can't believe we're going to state," Raymond said. And that's probably the best way to describe the atmosphere between Nocona's players, coaches and fans after the win.