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It was a great run for EGHS seniorsPosted Monday, October 29, 2012, at 5:05 PM
FERDINAND -- There's nothing for the Eastern Greene volleyball team to hang there heads about -- and that's not to say that they are.
Scottie Ingram, Casie Divine, Darci Abell, Anna Jenness and Leanna Bailey have set a standard for Lady Thunderbird teams that will make it tough for anyone who follows behind them.
The group has never lost a Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference title, they've lost only 13 total times dating back to when they were in junior high school. They won 136 times the past four seasons, including setting or tying a school record for wins each season, culminating with a 36-3 mark this season.
And maybe, most importantly, they gave the school its first taste of a state finals. Even though they didn't come home with a championship title, they still propelled the program to levels it had never reached before.
"There will never be another team that comes out of Eastern Greene that will ever do that again and that's pretty phenomenal," Eastern Greene coach Gina Ingram said after Saturday's loss to Providence in the semistate title match. "I don't think anybody realizes the impact that group of seniors has had on our program with their work ethic and determination, and that's huge."
While most fans outside of the inner circle don't see it, they were the heart and soul of a team that has won 31 straight SWIAC matches, four consecutive SWIAC titles -- six if you throw in the two junior high league crowns -- four straight sectionals and three regionals.
All in all a pretty good set of successes I'd say.
Perhaps lost in the mix is how hard they chose to work and for how long.
Coach Ingram said it best herself when she described how much fun the group has been to coach over the last four years.
"It's been fun, really fun," she said. "They're great kids that bring a lot to the table, more than just the things they do out on the court where they work hard together and help each other do things."
That includes helping each other through the most difficult part of all when it comes to sport, not being able to continue.
As I watched their final exit from the court Saturday night I saw a group of players that were committed to standing tall and holding their heads high.
They had agreed before hand to not cry on the court if the match didn't go their way, which ultimately it didn't.
Instead of hugging and crying endlessly, they instead gathered for one final group celebration of their accomplishments then walked into the sunset metaphorically with chests out, shoulders back and heads high.
"They're fun, they're a lot of fun," the coach said. "They will be fun on the bus tonight. We agreed their would be no crying on the floor because everything has been so incredible and that's how we feel, we're proud of the things we've accomplished."
But Bailey and Abell could not totally hold off the tears.
That pride goes just a little deeper than you might gather. Ingram said the work ethic shown, the sportsmanship displayed and the attitudes have a very solid foundation, one that is a credit to where they learned to become what they are now.
"They come from a great stock of people," she said. "And you don't see that very often."
Her words are probably more extensive than her intent.
As I watched the final moments of the season tick away, I also saw a group of fans and parents that took no shame in what they witnessed.
To each fan of the Lady Thunderbirds, I would like to say one thing, it's been a nice ride and you've produced some very fine young ladies who I am proud to have been able to cover in my three years at the Daily World.
I only hope the players themselves carry on what they have begun to the next step of their lives.
Whether it be as a college student, parent or fan, I think they know how to do it right and I've got this funny feeling that they will do it right no matter what endeavors they undertake.
Thanks Lady T-Birds, you were spectacular.
Rick Curl is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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