The Bridgewater Bobcats rallied after losing the first set to Maitland to win a second consecutive OCPS Championship.
HORIZON WEST For a second consecutive year, the girls volleyball team at Bridgewater Middle School is the best in all of Orange County.
The Bobcats completed a second-straight undefeated season Dec. 16 with a 2-1 win (19-25, 25-17, 15-5) over Maitland Middle in the Orange County Public Schools Championship.
After Maitland ended the first set on a 7-1 run to take a 1-0 lead, Bridgewater was forced to refocus in the second set with their season on the line.
“I definitely think it turned around in the second game when we started strong with our serves," head coach Layla West said. "It’s something that we’ve practice and is kind of our signature. "
In addition to the improved service effort, the Bobcats also benefitted from the leadership of eighth graders who, dating back to their sixth grade season, had only lost two games (36-2 combined middle school career record). Captains Emma McElveen and Taylor Head, in particular, were crucial to Bridgewater's comeback effort.
“These girls are seasoned," coach Mark Bergner said. "(McElveen and Head) able to calm the team down and the team really listens to them."
The Bobcats also enjoyed playing in front of an energized crowd on their home floor.
“I think (the home crowd) was awesome," Head said. "We don’t usually have that many people, but I think it was great. I think it really motivated us."
Bridgewater's girls team has now won 28 consecutive games, spanning two seasons. For an eighth-grader like McElveen, who will be moving on to start her high school career next fall, it was a fitting end to an impressive career as a Bobcat.
“I’m so proud of (the younger) and I cannot wait to come back next year and visit them to watch them do this again," McElveen said. “This was my last game in middle school and it meant so much to me."
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].