ST. ALBANS – Jason Ward had been looking for some consistency out of his Ripley Lady Viking volleyball team.
Well, he finally got it at the St. Albans Invitational Tournament.
Ward’s crew finished as runners-up in the event.
“I’m very proud of our team,” said Ward, who is in his first season at the helm. “The girls battled their hearts out and made great strides in becoming a team. You can see our confidence growing and we are getting better with every practice and every game.”
Ripley went undefeated in pool play to begin the tournament. The Lady Vikings topped Charleston Catholic, 2-0 (25-17, 25-22), Roane County, 2-0 (25-22, 25-15) and St. Albans, 2-0 (25-17, 25-23).
It was then on to single-elimination play. There Ripley topped Lincoln County, 2-0 (25-13, 25-17) and Roane, 2-1 (22-25, 25-17, 15-10).
In the championship, Catholic downed the Lady Vikings, 2-1 (25-9, 23-25 and 12-15).
“We hadn’t been in that championship atmosphere before and I think we started pressing a little too hard because they wanted to win so badly,” said Ward. “It’s a learning process. The next time we are back in that situation, I have full confidence they will be ready to control those emotions and come out and just play with passion and love of the sport.”
Ripley was 5-1 for the tournament. Kacie Whitney earned All-Tournament honors. Overall, the season record for the Lady Vikings now stands at 10-13.