Final Four Preview: Volleyball Heads To State

The volleyball team is heading to the final four on Friday in Cape Girardeau.

McKenna Casey, Editor-in-Chief

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Sometimes, words really can’t do it justice. 

The history says it all. 

For the first time Windsor High School’s history, a girls’  team has made it to the Final Four. On Saturday, the Owls defeated Ste. Genevieve 25-13, 25-18 to advance to the quarterfinal game against Perryville. The Owls then knocked off the Pirates 25-19, 12-25, 25-14 to advance to the state semifinals.  

The coaches, players and fans erupted after the final point against the Pirates. 

Head coach Stephany Dueker-Richmond said, “Is this real?  Are we really going?  Oh my goodness, we’re really going to state!”

The players were in shock, too.

Senior Taylor Duncan said, “It feels amazing. It doesn’t even seem real.”

Prior to Saturday, in the history of Windsor, only the 1992 Windsor baseball team had advanced to the final four as a team. That team took fourth place.  In 1979, the boys track team won a state title. 

Dueker-Richmond, who graduated from Windsor in 1994 and has worked at the school since she was 20 years old, knows this history better than just about anyone. 

Many would agree that nobody deserves this more than Dueker-Richmond. She has won five district titles in volleyball, but that elusive final four appearance had eluded her over the years. 

Not anymore.

Over the past few weeks, the team has really come together. The Owls are currently on a ten game winning streak.

“This has been on my coaching bucket list since I started,” Dueker-Richmond said.  “It is very special to me as an alum to be part of the first girls’ team to qualify.”

Among the fans, a section of students have supported the team rigorously throughout the season. Due to the Owls impressive final four appearance, the district announced a half day on Friday, so anyone can come cheer on the Owls during this historical run. 

The high school even arranged for a spirit bus to bring fans on Friday and Saturday.

“Volleyball obviously doesn’t get very big crowds very often,” Duncan said.  “But we’ve had some dedicated fans that have come to every single one of our games. Now that the whole school, if they want, can join the group. That’s just awesome.”

First-year Activities Director Ross Koenig has been thrilled by the school’s response to the final four appearance. 

“Any time the school, our activities, or any type of program that does something that is bigger than just the program, that is a district-wide kind of a thing, being able to support that in the community is something that is very important,” Koenig said.

The community response has amazed the Owls coach.

“(The response) has been unreal. I’ve received the craziest emails from people I graduated with, texts from alum girls from 20 years ago, and an overwhelming amount of support from the entire Windsor district from pre-school teachers all the way up to Dr. (Joel) Holland,” Dueker-Richmond said. “I am so grateful for the way the district has supported us as a whole.  Good grief–they altered the school calendar for us!”

Although the team has made it to state, it wasn’t always an easy fight.  For example, in their most recent match against Perryville, they started off strong, but the Pirates dominated in the second set. At one point, the Owls trailed the second set 14-1. Luckily, the Owls came back with a completely different mindset for the deciding final set. 

“It sounds like we don’t give up…We don’t let our mistakes get ahead of us and we don’t let it bring us down and we can finish anything,” Duncan said. 

The Windsor High School students and staff sent off the team in style on Thursday. Students lined the hallways while the band, cheerleaders, dance team and volleyball team walked through the hallways. 

The team will play on Friday at 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. Depending on the outcome of those games, the Owls will play at 6 pm on Saturday for third place or the state title at 7:30 pm. 

Dueker-Richmond said, “I want them to enjoy every minute and make lifelong memories.  But we are going to play volleyball and even with the crowd, the big venue, the announcing, the spotlight–it’s still volleyball.  The court is the same size, my team will still play for each other, and hopefully we’ll still play to the best of our ability.”

 

Friday schedule:

4 pm: Windsor (23-9-5) vs. St. Michael the Archangel Catholic (21-9-2)

6 pm Windsor (23-9-5) vs. Logan-Rogersville (33-4)

8pm Windsor (23-9-5) vs. St. Francis Borgia (30-4)

Saturday schedule 

6 pm Class 3 Third Place Game

7:30 pm Class 3 state championship game

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