Alamo Heights – When the Alamo Heights volleyball team began their season, it was the coaching staff that brought up the idea of playing for a state championship as an achievable goal. Mules first year head coach Alex Bothe said that once the coaches brought up a state tournament run, the players began to envision themselves competing for the Class 5A title.
“Once we put it in their head, you couldn’t get it out,” said Bothe. “They want it so badly and they’re going to show up every day ready to work and ready to beat whoever is in front of them.”
A 35-9 record – highlighted by a district championship and a perfect record in district play – set the groundwork for a postseason run in which the Mules have yet to drop a single set. Senior outside hitter, Avery Rosenblum, said the selflessness of her teammates on and off the court has allowed for their success.
“Everybody bought in from day one,” she said. “Everybody wants it, everybody is working for each other, with each other, we love each other, we love spending time together.”
The Mules punched their ticket to state after defeating Dripping Springs on November 16 for the Region IV Championship. The team did so despite not having its own on-campus facility this season due to ongoing construction of a new gymnasium. The coaches and players learned how to turn the obstacle into an advantage with how the team adapted to road games and approached their opponents.
“We just show up into every gym and we just act like we own the place and like it’s our gym,” said Bothe. “Not having a gym, I think we’ve been, we’ve been able to be successful in tournaments and all of our away games because every game is away.”
Senior middle blocker Faith Holzhausen agreed the challenges presented by always playing away from the school, even for designated home games at Lanier High School and the Lanier Alumni Center, presented the team with a unique opportunity.
“To a certain extent not having our home gym means we just want to win everywhere,” Hozhausen said. “Everywhere is a road game versus last year it was like you need to beat someone in your home, you can’t let them come into your home turf but being away, every game is a challenge.”
Alamo Heights faces their biggest challenge of the season Friday in Garland in the state 5A semifinals against a 42-3 Canyon Randall squad. The winner will advance to the championship Saturday against the winner of Lovejoy and Friendswood.