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Burnet volleyball team to be remembered for more than wins

Though the Burnet High School volleyball season ended one win short of qualifying for the Class 4A Region III tournament, head coach Crystal Shipley said this team gave her, the staff and the Burnet community more than sound victories.

“Not only are they smart and athletic, but they are some of the best leaders that have come through our program,” she said. “They hold teammates accountable, and they make it an environment that so many want to be a part of. We have talked about this crew since they were in sixth grade. I had the privilege of having them in sixth and seventh grade. They always wanted to be pushed, they always wanted to compete, and they wanted to be champions in all they did. They naturally have the Big Dawg Mentality we talk so much about.”

The Lady Dawgs (27-13, 8-2 District 24-4A runners-up) lost to China Spring 20-25, 14-25, 26-28 Nov. 7. The Lady Cougars (30-13, 8-2 District 23-4A runners-up lost to Spring Hill in straight sets in the regional semifinals. Spring Hill lost to Burnet’s former district rival Salado, which won the regional tournament to advance to the Class 4A state tournament.

The Burnet seniors have not finished a district campaign worse than third in the four years they’ve been in high school. They’ve gone to the regional tournament once, won back-to-back district crowns, and played in at least two rounds of the playoffs all four years. And they and their teammates have done it while also competing in other sports throughout the school year.

“This has been a fun season with lots of memories made,” Shipley said. “Many of these girls play multiple sports and are a huge part of many Lady Dawg successes. Several of them do not have an off-season because they are so competitive and constantly want to be competing. I could not ask for a better group to go to battle with each week. Winning games is fun and rewarding, but at the end of the day, I will forever cherish getting to know their amazing personalities and who they are the most.” 

Senior Addie Houston was voted first team academic all-state, while classmates MaeSyn Gay and Reagan Shipley were voted to the second team. These seniors have maintained a 92 or above average all four years.

Shipley said she hopes the community will regard this year’s Lady Dawgs as a team that was resilient and didn’t let the adversity dictate a match’s outcome.

“I want them to be remembered as a team that didn’t give up, a team that learned to adjust to change — things like positions — and a team that was so fun to watch play together,” she said. “They genuinely care about each other and love getting to be together. That is also how I will remember them.”

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