Next week, the Claremore volleyball team will look to keep up the upsetting as they will take on top-ranked Bishop McGuinness at 11:45 a.m. at the Class 5A Volleyball Championships Monday, Oct. 16 at Sand Springs.
Although Claremore is ranked No. 10 in the state, the Lady Zebras are the lowest ranked team in the field of eight. It didn't bother them at the Coweta regional where Claremore (22-17) upset the regional hosts in a five-set thriller to qualify for state for just the second time in school history, even though they had lost to them six previous times this season.
Led by first-year coach Victoria Giron, the Lady Zebras now must get by McGuinness (28-4) is ranked No. 1 in the state and a returning state semifinalist. In fact, every team at state is ranked, and five of those teams were state qualifiers last year.
The tournament opens with No. 3 (tie) Cascia Hall (23-9) playing No. 5 Victory Christian (24-10) at 10 a.m. Monday. Cascia Hall is a returning state qualifier.
After Claremore and McGuinness hook it up at 11:45 a.m., No. 3 (tie) Lincoln Christian (28-7) will take on last year's state runner-up, sixth-ranked Bishop Kelley (15-17) at 1:30 p.m.
Last year's state qualifier, No. 9 Skiatook (29-8) takes on No. 2 Mount St. Mary (27-9), a team coming off last year's state championship run, at 3:15 p.m. Semifinals will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the finals at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at Sapulpa High School.
Claremore is not unfamiliar with the state teams. The Zebras lost to Skiatook three times — 3-2 on Aug. 22; 2-0 at the Port City Classic and 2-0 at the Metro Lakes Conference Tournament. Claremore also lost to Lincoln Christian 3-0 on Oct. 5 and had previously lost to Victory Christian 2-0.
This season, Claremore is 17-11 against 5A teams, but 0-5 against the 5A teams at the state tournament.
Every team at state, with the exception of Claremore and Cascia Hall, didn't lose a set during regional play.
McGuinness swept their way past Del City and Collinsville; Victory Christian blanked El Reno and Guymon; Lincoln Christian swept Tulsa Rogers and Piedmont; Kelley took care of Hale and Carl Albert; Skiatook swept Santa Fe South and Metro Christian; and Mount St. Mary shut out Lawton Eisenhower and Heritage Hall. Cascia Hall needed five sets to beat Booker T. Washington, and blanked NW Classen.