Holliday Preparing For State

For most of the Holliday Lady Eagles, it still hasn't sunk in.

"It's like a dream still," senior Cassie Kunkel said.

They're playing at the state tournament Thursday, one match away from the state championship.

The Lady Eagles (35-6) will face No. 1 Brock (43-3) in the second semifinal of the day at 3:00 p.m. at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland.

Holliday ran over some roadblocks to reach its season-long goal.

Roadblock No. 1: the regional semifinal round. The Lady Eagles were swept out of the playoffs in the semi's in 2011 and lost on four sets in 2010. Roadblock No. 2: Bushland. Bushland was the team that eliminated the Lady Eagles the past two years.

Holliday swept Highland Park in the semi's, then outlasted Bushland in a five-setter in the finals.

"I think we're a lot mentally stronger than we were last year by far," senior Morgan Lewis said.

Last year, Holliday watched Nocona make an underdog run to the state championship match, before losing to Poth. This year, Holliday is ranked fourth among the four teams at state. The Lady Indians, many players are close friends with Holliday's players, have helped out in preparing Holliday for Thursday, describing the court, the crowd, the emotions and more.

"It's kinda of cool that we're like district sisters," Lewis said. "We're all working together. We all want the same thing."

Fifth-year head coach Mindy Patton is another team resource. As a player for Windthorst in the 1990s, she played in multiple state championship matches.

"I try to explain to the girls, you don't realize how neat of an opportunity it is," she said. "I just want them to finish out with a gold medal."

Tune in Wednesday on Newschannel 6 at 6 p.m. for more on Holliday and state!