STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS in the realm of athletics are a cherished commodity.
Attaining that lofty achievement for the first time makes it even sweeter. Doing it while being cast in the role of underdog makes it even a more remarkable accomplishment.
The Ohio University Eastern's women's volleyball team can identify with all of the above. The Lady Panthers captured the school's initial Ohio Regional Campus state volleyball title recently. They were not expected to do so.
The OUE ladies etched their names into the history books despite entering the tourney just third-seeded via their 14-8 mark. Moreover, the Lady Panthers were a combined 0-3 against the two higher ranked squads.
Coach Lindsay Piccolini, however, had her spikers primed for the state tournament, as they were nothing short of dominant.
OUE won nine sets and lost just two. In the process, the Lady Panthers vanquished second-seeded Miami Hamilton and top-seeded OU Lancaster in grabbing the brass ring.
The state title run takes on even more flavor as all of the team's nine players come from OVAC schools. It is truly a home-grown unit.
The beauty of the OUE women goes deeper than their athletic abilities. They also excel in the classroom.
The overall team grade point average this year is 3.2. The OUE players are making academic progress towards Ohio University bachelor's degrees in business, education, communications, exercise physiology, history and social work.
OUE obviously provides a fertile environment for athletics and academics to mesh seamlessly, allowing their students to reach their potential in both.
We commend Coach Piccolini, her staff and team. They are winners on the court and off of it.