By Michael Brooks
With a 15-13 game five victory over the Bushland Lady Falcons, the Industrial Cobras volleyball team left the top prognosticators in shock.
Just how big was this Cobra victory?
You see, Bushland was supposed to be an unstoppable juggernaut. Both Maxpreps and the Texas Girls Coaches Association (and most likely other polls-if there are more Texas volleyball polls out there) had Bushland as the number one ranked 3A team in Texas since the first few games of the season, and with good reason.
Bushland sported a 46-1 record. Their only loss was to 5A Burleson on August 8. They had won 38 straight. It had been 14 games since another team had even won a set against the Lady Falcons and that includes every game of the playoffs until they met the Cobras.
And Bushland had the most impressive resume, by far, of any of the final four teams in 3A.
Last season Bushland lost to Boyd (the same team that defeated Industrial in last years Semi-Finals) in the Regional Finals round. In 2017, Bushland was 40-2. In 2016 they were 43-3 and won state in 4A. 2015 they lost the state game. In total, since 2007 the Lady Falcons won state four times, twice in 4A and twice in 2A and were making their seventh appearance in the final four, so there was good reason for them to be ranked number one.
While gathering information about the other three teams I spoke with coaches, school personnel and local newspapers about their teams. People from Lexington and Van Alstyne said they were glad they didn’t have to face Bushland in the semi-final game.
Not one person I spoke with said anything about Industrial, other than asking where Vanderbilt is located.
As good as Bushland was on paper, the Cobra girls were disrespected (or possibly overlooked) by the poll-sters this season. The TGCA, who does a weekly poll throughout the season, only had Industrial listed in the top 25 one time all season. Schulenburg and Hallettsville hung out between number 10 and number 20 all season.
Once the Cobras defeated Goliad, they were thrown into the final four, but of course, at number four. But as the old saying goes “to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
Now only Van Alstyne (36-4) stands in the way of the Cobras winning their first volleyball state championship. Van Alstyne is making their first ever state title game appearance as well after they beat Lexington in their Semi-Final match-up.
The State Championship game will be played Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
Make sure to pick up the 11/27 JCHT newspaper for a recap of the semi final and state title game.
-Photo contributed by Matthew Smith