EVANSTON – Evanston High School volleyball coach Tera Lawlar has put together better seasons, record wise, since she took over the program 14 years ago.
But the 2017 campaign is one Lawlar won’t forget anytime soon.
“This was one of my favorite (seasons),” as she addressed the crowd on Tuesday at the end-of-the-year banquet. “You are amazing young ladies and I’m so proud of you. I would say it would go down as one of the most successful seasons. We battled.”
It was a battle for Evanston at regionals and state. During regional play, the Lady Red Devils were one game away from being eliminated from the tournament and missing a chance to compete at the state tournament.
That didn’t happen.
The Lady Red Devils went 18-17 this season after going 0-2 in the Class 4A state tournament on Friday at the Casper Events Center. And while they were disappointed about losing back-to-back game, they took comfort knowing they played to the best of their ability.
Evanston, the No. 4 team in the West, suffered a 25-23, 26-24, 25-20 loss to Laramie, the top seed in the east in the opening round of the state tournament on Thursday.
The Lady Red Devils had their season come to a close after falling to Natrona, the No. 2 seed in the West, 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19, in a consolation-round game on Friday.
Lawler said her team was just starting to peak during regional and state play. She wishes Evanston had a few more weeks to prove that.
But she couldn’t be happier with the effort the Lady Red Devils displayed at regionals and state.
“The varsity girls, I just want to thank you for your hard work and grit,” Lawlar said while looking at her core of seniors. “You always worked hard. You did everything that you could do.”
Evanston also displayed that same work ethic the Lady Red Devils brought to the floor inside the classroom. The 12 girls on the varsity roster have a 3.86 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
“That’s phenomenal,” Lawlar said. “That’s amazing.”
Evanston will graduate Tierra Short, Nicole Bott, Angelita Magana, Allysa Dean, Taylor Groll, Hailey Barker, Emmery Wagstaff and Hannah Ellingford.
“You are phenomenal seniors and I’m excited about your futures,” Lawlar said. “You gelled really well together and I appreciate everything you did.”
Wagstaff and Barker both earned All-State and All-Conference honors. Dean and Aspen Anderson, a junior, made the All-Conference second team, while Ellingford and junior Kayli Sharp were named honorable mention.
Evanston returns four juniors that saw playing time at the varsity level this season. And now the Lady Red Devils hope to continue the tradition of the 2017 team.
“It’s going to be a very memorable season for me,” Lawlar said.
Freshman coach Tim Herold also addressed the crowd.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” he said. “They are competitors. They want to work and they want to do what it takes to win.”
Sophomore coach Kodi Freeland also spoke to her team.
“You guys were so fun this year — so quiet at first,” she said. “]We were super successful. The improvement was hug with this group of girls.”
Junior varsity coach Matt Petersen set the stage for Lawlar while talking about the Evanston junior varsity team.
“We had a great year,” he said. “It was an extremely competitive team. We weren’t the tallest or the biggest team, but I don’t think they was a scrappier team than we were. I think I’m most proud of how we pushed our varsity during practice.”