OBA volleyball begins life in 4A | National News

Aug. 6—ENID, Okla. — After going 23-12 in the regular season and losing in the regionals to Holland Hill, OBA volleyball is looking to leave its mark this season and bring home the school’s first state title in volleyball.

“I’m excited to play with this team,” said OBA’s Emma Butler. “I think we are going to have a lot of fun. It’s going to be an interesting year.”

The goal for the season is to get a little further than they did last year and get to the state tournament

“We want to win at least one more match, the regional finals,” said OBA coach Randy Roth.

The Lady Trojans are led by one of the winningest senior classes in school history, although they will be absent one of their star players in Clara Caldwell. She will be out most, if not all, of the season with a broken arm.

“I’m bummed out,” Caldwell said of not getting to play with her fellow seniors. “I was excited to play with them one last year, but I will cheer them on from the sideline. I’m just super bummed out.”

This senior class has 77 wins over the first three years, Roth said.

“You improve on that by focusing on the basics,” he said. “We need to take it one game at a time, which, let’s be honest, is hard to do sometimes.”

“You don’t lose a player like Clara and not miss something,” Roth said. “Obviously as a coach you plan everything, but then you find out before the season one of your players has a broken arm. We moved Mary O’Neill to the left side and sophomore Brianna Colby slotting in on the right side.”

“I’m just excited to be with the younger girls on the team and be able to lead,” O’Neill said. “I love these girls and this team. I love that I get to be an upperclassman and get to be a part of that.”

One of the biggest challenges for OBA this season will be a bump up to 4A after a recent string of success, forcing them to play against schools five to six times their size, Roth said.

“I question the OSSAA penalty for private schools succeeding by bumping them up to a higher clarification,” Roth said in a preseason coaches survey. “OBA is one of the smallest schools that plays volleyball, but because we have had a couple of really good seasons, we have to compete with schools that have five and six times the enrollment.”

OBA’s attendance is between 105-120, with an average daily membership of 108.40 according to the OSSAA. In 4A, they will play against teams like Tuttle, which has a 617 ADM; and Locust Grove, which has a 404 ADM.

With all the senior leadership OBA has, it’s taking all of them to get the freshmen up to speed.

“We are having to explain a lot more to them than we have in the past,” OBA senior setter Mary Butler said.

The freshmen class is catching on though, Roth said.

“We have a few that are catching on, but they may not be varsity level yet,” he said. “We are going to suit them up on varsity and they will have to learn quickly. As a group they are catching on quickly.”

Roth said some of the learning process is due to the difference in nature of middle school volleyball and high school, varsity level volleyball.

“In middle school, there is a lot of ping-pong,” he said. “We lose some middle school matches because we want to control the volleyball.”

One of the best things about the team, players said, is the team around the team.

“The community is super uplifting,” O’Neill said. “Everyone is so encouraging and telling us to get back in there, even with all the balls I’ve shanked in my three years.”

The Lady Trojans open on Monday against Locust Grove and have their first home game on Aug. 16 against Crossings Christian.

“We are just excited to get going,” Roth said.

Becker is sports editor for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Reese? Send an email to rbecker@enidnews.com.

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