Hillcrest volleyballers achieve magical victory

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One win among a day filled with multiple matches in a high school volleyball tournament on a Saturday may not mean much.

But it did this past Saturday for the HIllcrest Academy volleyball team.

Sweeping Midland in two sets in a tournament matchup in Wilton, the Ravens won their first match since 2018. The streak had reached 37 straight losses, dating back to a season-ending setback to Winfield-Mt. Union in the Class 1A regional tournament in October 2018.

There is plenty to celebrate on the Hillcrest campus this week.

The Ravens have already tripled the number of sets they have won this year under first-year coach Taylor Kurtz, as compared to the 0-27 team of 2019. They nearly defeated Lone Tree two weeks ago. The excitement surfaces quickly with the smiles in their team huddle after every point.

And if you look at the bench, it is nearly empty. The Ravens have seven players. In volleyball, six are on the court at a time, which is why Kurtz was working her players on conditioning so intensely in August. They needed to be on shape for those five-set matches.

To win even one match with seven players, it’s virtually unheard of. Every player is involved in offense, in defense, in serving. Against Midland, the Ravens faced a team that used nine players.

Only two HIllcrest players – Sophie Marshall and Yanitza Gutierrez – had ever experienced a win before last Saturday. They were sophomores in 2018, when Hillcrest won 19 matches.

Yes, the Ravens lost four matches in Wilton on Saturday. But it’s the other match they will remember.

And build on.

That’s what winning does.

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