Some special things are happening right now in Sabine High School athletics – the football team is 8-0, cross country runner David Robinson is headed back to the state meet for the second straight year, and volleyball has had its best-ever season, to date.
Now, there’s a goal coach Kristen Reaves and the Lady Cardinals have, summed up in three words: Bring. It. Home.
They’ll try to take the first step in doing that Tuesday night with a first-round, or bi-district round, game against Waskom at 7 p.m. at LeTourneau University in Longview.
If recent history is any indication, Waskom might be in trouble.
The Lady Cardinals have dominated the 2019-20 regular season, just dominated, having finished the District 16-3A schedule undefeated, 14-0, and with just five losses on the season. Sabine has a 38-5 overall record headed into the UIL Class 3A volleyball playoffs. For their last loss, you have to go all the way back to Aug. 29, and that was to Bullard – a program in a bigger classification.
Reaves, who came to Sabine in 2015 after seven years at Van, knows what it takes to build a winner.
“Difference-makers for this season have been consistency, and not (getting) down when we are down. They work hard and push through, and don’t stop playing. This group has great chemistry together, too. We have great senior leaders, and they are an overall well-rounded group.
“Yes, we have our go-to players, but everyone has had to step up and do big things. I don’t just have a good two or three players. I have a whole team of great players.”
She’s not wrong. On the season, Sabine has a staggering 1,526 kills in their 43 games – that’s 35 kills a game. Mikinzi Cantrell leads in that category with 417. Samantha Bell is right behind, with 405, and Aubree McCann has 365. Cantrell and Bell are seniors, but McCann is just a sophomore.
Sophomore Maddie Furrh leads the team with 134 aces; a junior, Sierrah Richter, has 120, and Richter leads in assists with a staggering amount: 1,393, or about 32 a game. McCann leads the squad in blocks (72 on the season) and Bell leads in digs (378).
Sabine’s last game of the regular season was Tuesday night, and the Lady Cardinals took down Winona in three, 25-5, 25-7, 25-12.
Bell and Cantrell each had nine kills, and McCann had seven. Ryanne Stuart had four, Furrh had three, and Richter had one. Richter had 28 assists; Cantrell had three digs; and Furrh had nine aces; Richter had eight, and McCann, five.
The mission to the state tournament is one that is not just a dream, but a realistic goal. And Reaves believes this team is special.
“I have really enjoyed this group this year,” she said. “They’re fun to be around. I feel very blessed to get to coach these talented girls. This year has been great, seeing the seniors evolve into leaders and seeing how much this group has improved and grown together.
“This group has a very high volleyball IQ for being so young. I have three seniors, two juniors, and four sophomores. I can see they really love playing the game, and they have that drive to be the best.”