After years of trying, the Beckville Ladycats finally came through with the UIL Class 2A State Volleyball title last fall, much like the Bearcats baseball team that had taken the title the previous June.

But the Ladycats, who had a senior dominated team, won’t suffer the same fate as the baseball team as it failed to make the playoffs and defend its title.

The Ladycats, who went 42-8 last season but didn’t lose a match to a team smaller than Class 4A, have already lost a match to a Class 3A school but currently sit at 3-1.

“The Ladycats have built a strong culture on using the athletic abilities the Lord has blessed them with,” said Coach Cherry Downs, who is 243-44 entering her eighth season with the Ladycats. “The 2018 state championship team set that standard high, and I have no doubt the most competitive athletes that make up our 2019 Ladycat volleyball program will work to reach the same accomplishment.”

Beckville swept through District 20-A action last season and ended up beating district-rival Gary in the regional quarterfinals.

Top returning players are Miranda Mize with 337 kills, 132 digs, 67 aces, 58 blocks and 14 assists; Kinsley Rivers with 180 kills, 12 aces, 25 blocks and 93 digs; and Allison Baker, who was the All-East Texas Newcomer of the Year in 2018.

Top newcomers to watch are Gracen Harris and Lindsey Baker.

Losing four seniors who have made up the team since they were in junior high won’t be easy. But don’t count Downs or the Ladycats out.

“The season brings big opportunities for our younger Ladycats to compete for a spot on the varsity roster,” Downs said. “With four graduating players last year, we will watch for the young ladies who have prepared for this opportunity. It will show on the court. With new teammates, we will need matches and court time to grow as a team and achieve the level needed to achieve our season goals.”