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LEXINGTON – A day of disappointment couldn’t tarnish the Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers’ silver season Saturday afternoon at White Knoll High School.
The 20-3 Lady Vols dropped a 3-0 loss to Bishop England High School for the Class AA Upper State volleyball championship, but AJ fans said the season was still a success.
“It was outstanding,” said AJ assistant principal Scotti Phillips, who was among the throng of Lady Vols fans who packed one side of the WKHS gym in support of the team.
“We haven’t had a team make a run like this since the 2007 season in softball,” Phillips said. “We’ve built this program.
“We got a taste of it today and we will be back,” he said. “This team has also brought our community together.”
Andrew Jackson High School Athletics Director Jimbo Barton noted the support.
“The people here today says it all,” Barton said. “There’s a lot of support from our small community. It’s all new to us this year, but I feel we will be back.
“We’ve got some youth and we’ve got some experience,” Barton noted. “Coach Verdugo (AJHS volleyball coach John Verdugo) has brought them together. Next year, we will be alright.”
The Lady Vols volleyball team, which earned a bid to the Class AA state title match for the first time since 1991, won the Region IV-AA volleyball championship for the third time in four years and captured the Class AA Upper State championship.
“We fell short today, but I felt we gave Bishop England as good a match as any team did during the playoffs. We’re proud as heck of them. They came in and played hard today and gave it all they had” said AJHS Principal Alex Dabney.
“We have a good mix of players on that team and I look for them to get back here next year,” Dabney said.
AJ volleyball parent Jonathan Scott said the 2013 squad made continual improvement.
“As the season went along, we got better and better,” Scott said. “They came a long way.
“I feel good about our future. It will be hard to replace our seniors who gave us good, solid leadership,” he said. “At the same time, we have some good ones coming back.”
Verdugo said the AJ season was “awesome.”
“We are champions, unbeaten region champions and the Upper State champions,” he said. “Two hours doesn’t define our season and take away seven months of hard work.”
“I refuse to let the girls diminish their accomplishments. It’s been a great season and I feel we have a solid future.”
Contact sports editor Robert Howey at (803) 283-1157