By BROOKLYN BROWN
One Feather Reporter
ANDREWS, N.C. – The varsity Cherokee Lady Braves volleyball team has made history once again. The Lady Braves defeated the Swain Co. Lady Devils in a three-set victory for the Smoky Mountain Conference (SMC) Tournament Championship on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Andrews High School. For the first time in school history, the Lady Braves brought home the championship trophy.
The JV Lady Braves fought hard against the Hayesville Lady Jackets in the JV SMC Tournament Championship match. The JV Lady Braves were named the 2023-24 SMC Tournament Championship Runners-Up after a tough loss, scoring 25 to Hayesville’s 27 in the second set.
Fans were electric and ready for more in a packed Andrews High School gym after a neck and neck JV match. The JV team has six players on their roster, exactly enough for a volleyball team. The Varsity team filled the empty bench in intimidating fashion, patiently waiting for their chance at the championship. The Varsity Lady Braves stepped onto the court for warmups after cheering on their JV team from the bench.
The Lady Braves display a fierce warmup, with volleyballs pounding the floor from their stacked list of hitters. The first set ended quickly with a dominating 25-4 win over the Lady Devils. Swain came to play in the next set, resulting in a closer game with the Lady Braves winning the set 25-18. The Lady Braves took the final set 25-14, securing their title as the 2023-24 SMC Tournament Champions for the first time in school history. #9 Creedon Arch, a senior setter for the championship team, played an outstanding game. Arch’s hustle and determination to never let the ball hit the floor made the difference in several crucial points of the three-set rally.
Hermoine “Loshi” Ward, a senior outside hitter and setter, is excited for playoffs, which begins Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. as the #4 seed Lady Braves play #29 College Prep & Leadership in Charles George Memorial Arena. “It’s exciting! I’ve played ball with all of these girls since we were little, so it’s made this season extra special,” Ward said.
Standout freshman and middle hitter Joscelyn Stamper is experiencing a uniquely historic freshman year of Cherokee volleyball. “I am very honored to be able to play with such a talented and amazing team and that my freshmen season has been some of the best volleyball in my life. To win the conference championship for the first time was a very big honor,” she said. “Not only did we win for ourselves, to show everything we have worked on and pushed through, but to also win it for our community, family and supporters was definitely a moment never to be forgotten. Our next goal is definitely a state championship; that was our main goal from the beginning, and we will continue to work every day until that goal has been met.”