Nocona Falls Short Of State Title

No. 4 Nocona took down a Goliath, defending state champion White Oak, in the state semifinals Thursday. The upset propelled the Lady Indians to the state championship game.

Only problem, a bigger and better Goliath stood in the way of Nocona winning it's first ever state title.

No. 2 Poth stormed out of the gates with a ferocious attack from a powerful front line. Jordan Kotara, a 6'0" senior, set the tone with several monstrous kills that roared through Texas St.'s Strahan Coliseum.

"(They) took us completely out of our game," Nocona head coach Sandy Raymond said.

Nocona's go-to hitter Haylee Diehl would try to answer, only to be met with Poth blocks at the net.

"Their height's an advantage for them, a big advantage," the senior said. "All season long we managed to do it, but they just got to us."

The height disadvantage finally caught up with Nocona in the final match of the year. Brittan Mitchell is the lone Lady Indian taller than 5'10" in the rotation. Poth sends out four, and they combined for 33 of the team's 36 kills.

"We ran into a wall, a big wall," senior Alicia Walker said. "We knew they were going to be strong, and we just weren't able to pull it off."

Nocona was limited to 13 kills, with the dynamic trio of Diehl, junior Allie Hackley and senior Dayna Young held to 10.

Poth rolled to a straight-sets win, 25-8, 25-9 and 25-12.

"We didn't play near to our potential, and that's really disappointing," Diehl said. "I just wish we would have really showed everybody what we're really made of."

For Diehl, Walker and five other seniors, the state title match was their last.

"I'll remember this for sure. It's an awesome experience to step out on that floor and have the spotlight on you," Young said.

Walker said the experience will not be forgotten.

And though they fell short, head coach Sandy Raymond had nothing but praise for her team afterwards.

"Just the fire that these girls had, no one was going to get them down," she said. "They didn't think a lot about the big girls."

Diehl may have put it best, "Being a senior, we went out with a bang. We're at state!"