Deep playoff runs are nothing new for the East Bernard Brahmarettes. With multiple state championships and 22 state tournament appearances in their history, winning is expected and they deliver.
Since head coach Breanna Lolley came to East Bernard five years ago, hanging another banner in the gym has been a goal. If not for bad luck in the past two years, the Brahmarettes might have made it to the final game.
Behind two four-year starters in outside hitter Samantha Rabius and libero Reagan Goudeau, East Bernard has been rolling through teams picking up their 43rd win of the year against Warren in three sets Thursday night.
“Last year, we got a taste of it and it made us really want it (this year),” Goudeau said. “We knew we were going to have a really great team this year. We’ve had major improvements since last year. To know that we were that close last year and know how good we are this year it makes us want it that much more. We have that state goal in mind and that’s what keeps us going.”
Two games into the playoffs and it seems like Brahmarettes have another long run in them.
East Bernard last season was two sets shy of making the state championship game last season. Getting so far, even though they did not win, the game was a valuable tool for the Brahmarettes to have going into the playoffs this season.
“Experiencing the pressure of how far we got and how dependant we are on each other on the court and off the court,” Rabius said. “In our minds and the energy from the bench and how we need (to be locked in) all the time. We’ve definitely (upped) our mental game.”
Notably, East Bernard, earlier this season picked up wins over both Bellville and Needville, bigger state-ranked 4A schools who they haven’t beaten in the past five years. In Needville’s case, they won twice, including right before the playoffs started as their warmup game.
“In past years we always struggled against them,” Goudeau said. “To know that we didn’t just beat them but we killed them and it made us really confident. We played very much together, had great energy. We’re just unstoppable when we are like that.”
The offense from Rabius and fellow outside hitter junior Kellen Dorotik has been hard for teams to combat. Junior middle blocker Bailey Leopold is quick and always locked in. The Brahmarettes’ defense with Goudeau and sophomores Charlsie Atteberry and Abby Hudgins fly around the court and make good passes.