New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 17, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
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Journey began with teamwork exercise
chemistry and good senior leadership,” she said. “But senior leadership, to me, is still one of the biggest keys to success. We’ve had some great teams go through here and not go that far (in the playoffs). So there’s a lot to be said for that kind of leadership.” The Unicorns boast only four seniors, Lingamfelter, Chelsie Fowler, setter Rachel Brown and outside hitter Deanna Dahse. But there’s a strong corps of juniors who have fed off those four.
“We don’t have a lot of seniors, but those are some great ones, right there,” the coach added. “It’s in every aspect you can think of. They are great students, good athletes and have a good work ethic. They are great girls.”
Before the season, in what’s called a lock-in, the New Braunfels team sets its goals. And this year’s aim was dead serious.
“We all got together and talked about how we didn’t like losing out (before the playoffs) last year,” Chelsie Fowler said. “We had our goals set, and one of them was going to state.”
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“I don’t really think of one team as being any better than another, but this is a really different team. I’m extremely proud of this group of girls.”
— Phyllis Fowler
New Braunfels volleyball coach
Included in this year’s lock-in was a scavenger hunt, which involved getting various items from around town and archiving their Finds in photos. It was part of the process that helped bind the team.
“There’s some fun stuff, and it also lets them get to know each other,” Chelsie Fowler said. “It was a good scavenger hunt this year.”
The highlight of this year’s hunt was tracking down a rooster in front of Wal-Mart. The bird had gotten loose from somewhere and the team spotted it on the street from their cars. They gave chase and captured the rooster, which now resides with one of the players.
“They named him Riley,” Fowler said. “The girls brought him to our night practice, and we had him here for our last home game.”
The event served as the ultimate icebreaker, though it took a while longer for the team to find itself. New Braunfels lost its first three
matches and was 2-4 after falling to 5A state semifinalist Clark.
The Unicorns then won eight straight, winning the Northside ISD tournament, a four-game regular-season match against Hays Consolidated and the first three games at the Fraulein Tournament. There, they displayed real promise in a close, three-game loss to defending 5A champion Austin Westlake.
“We just couldn’t finish an opponent,” Fowler said. “We’ve come a long way since then. We were able to build on what we learned in the tournaments. Once district started, we weren’t able to do that because we were so tough against our opponents.”
New Braunfels began District 27-4A play 6-0, but started the second half with a three-game defeat by archrival Canyon. It won its final five contests and wound up sharing the 27-4A title with the Cougarettes. The Uni-
Thursday, November 17, 2005 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5A
coms marched into the playoffs after a three-game warmup loss to 5A power Humble Kingwood and haven't looked back since.
In four postseason matches New Braunfels has gotten only stronger, its intensity increasing each step. The Unicorns overwhelmed a seniorladen Canyon team in the regional final to make it to state.
“We’ve been playing very well,” coach Fowler said. “This is what you play for. This is about reaching your goal, and they’re not done.”
Each of the other three state semifinalists bring something to the table, but Lewisville Hebron, the defending state champion, will be the team to beat.
“They’re seeded first and have the best record as well,” Fowler said of Hebron (41-5). “But once you get to state, you just have to make sure you’re not the team getting beat. We’re all here, so we’ve all done the same things.”
Fowler doesn’t have a favorite among her teams, but says this one holds a special place that’s worthy of the New Braunfels tradition.
“I don’t really think of one team as being any better than another, but this is a really different team,” she said. “I’m extremely proud of this group of girls.”
DAVID INGRAM/Herald Zeitung
Senior Chelsie Fowler hopes to lead New Braunfels to a state championship at the University Scholastic League state tournament this weekend.
Serving the New Braunfels area for over 18 years.