They worked for it.
After placing third in the 1A State Volleyball Championships last weekend – Meeteetse’s best finish in 33 years – the Lady Longhorns did not hold back on their self-analysis.
“That’s probably the best we’ve played,” junior Abby May said.
Coach Kelsey Scolari said there was no probably about it.
“This was the best they played all year,” she said.
While the Lady Longhorns lost their opener in Casper, they swept their next three opponents, gaining satisfying revenge for previous losses.
The surge allowed Meeteetse to tie its second-best finish in school history behind a 1976 state title.
The Longhorns finished with a 27-6-2 record. Scolari is not sure if that is the most number of single-season records ever, but it might be.
“It is certainly the best record we have had since anyone can remember,” Scolari said.
In the first round Friday, Upton topped Meeteetse, 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 25-19 to send the Longhorns into the consolation bracket.
This was a pivotal moment. The Longhorns could let the disappointment ruin the trip, or regroup.
“It was a little upsetting,” hitter Lexi Allen said. “But we talked about it.”
In the next match, Meeteetse bested Hanna-Elk Mountain, 26-24, 15-25, 25-20, 25-19.
Sammy May, Abby’s sister, joked that the volleyball team did it “for the boys.” HEM only recently eliminated the Meeteetse football team in the first round of the 1A playoffs.
It was a must-win in the sense that a defeat against HEM would have sent the Longhorns home.
“We were super happy,” Sammy May said.
The reward was the Longhorns got to keep playing. From there on it was revenge time, starting against Little Snake River. Only a week earlier, Little Snake River bested Meeteetse at regionals.
This time it was Meeteetse’s turn, the result being 25-11, 25-22, 21-25, 25-17.
“I definitely think we worked more than we ever had,” Sammy May said.
That win thrust the Longhorns into the third-place game to face Upton again in the tournament.
“We wanted redemption,” Allen said of the victories over Little Snake and Upton.
The Longhorns got it with a 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-16 second-time-around defeat of Upton.
Senior Amanda Cooley said Meeteetse owed both of those schools and got payback She said it felt good to go 3-1 at state.
“Amazing,” Cooley said. “It felt really, really good. We did not want to go home. It was amazing, every second of it.”
Abby May said it would have been fun to finish first or second – Cokeville beat Saratoga for the title – but “it kind of worked out in the end.”
Meeteetse lost two tight matches to Saratoga this season and although the Longhorns never met Cokeville, the defending champions blitzed the field, winning all three times in sweeps.
Scolari said her team really peaked when it needed to do so.
“They played so well together and it all clicked for them,” Scolari said. “I don’t want it to end. I could coach this group of girls all-day every day all year long.”
Cooley and Bryce Salzman were the key seniors who will graduate.
“They did a great job of leading these girls this season,” Scolari said, “and they deserved the ending that they got.”
Third place – and the manner in which it was achieved – felt pretty darned good to the Longhorns.
“We wanted to end it on a good note,” Allen said.