By BROOKLYN BROWN
One Feather Reporter
CHEROKEE, N.C. – The varsity Lady Braves volleyball team crushed their goal of winning the Smoky Mountain Conference championship for the first time in school history on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Charles George Memorial Arena. The Lady Braves defeated the Robbinsville Lady Knights in three sets for the championship title.
The Lady Braves did not drop a conference set for the entire 2023-24 regular season. They have had a dominating year in the Smoky Mountain Conference, rounding out their regular season with a conference championship win over Robbinsville, tallying a conference record of 10-0 and 19-3 overall.
The Lady Braves are now entering postseason play, and Head Coach Pam Sumner Bryant is looking to crush more goals. “For these girls, it is a feeling of accomplishment to know their sacrifices, hard work, determination, passion, and teamwork is paying off for them. They are gaining the respect they deserve from all around,” she said. “And at the same time, this isn’t their ultimate goal, so they will celebrate this victory but remain focused for the next feat: the conference tournament; as they know, it’s one game at a time.”
The Cherokee Middle School volleyball team also defeated Robbinsville on the evening of Oct. 12, earning the conference championship title for two years in a row.
CMS Lady Braves Head Coach Taran Swimmer is impressed with her players’ advanced level of play. “At the beginning of the season, I had no idea what type of team I was going to have. I had eight girls from last year move up to high school, so I thought for sure it was going to be a rebuilding year. And I’m sure other teams thought the same thing. But these girls came in every day to practice hard and get where they needed to be. A handful ran cross country as well, but they never used it as an excuse to slack off. This win, and the home game against Murphy, was something we had to prepare and work for,” she said.
“The girls watched game film, thought about which spots were open on the court, plus a lot of other factors that went into our preparation. That’s a mindset that you don’t see in middle schoolers! Because of their effort, heart, and determination, they can call themselves champions. These girls are the next wave in Cherokee volleyball, and it will be something very special to witness!”
The Cherokee volleyball program has a bright future ahead. Be sure to tune in to coverage of the varsity Lady Braves postseason play, as they are strong contenders sitting at #3 in the North Carolina Division 1A West state rankings.