For The Tribune
The Brownstown eighth-grade girls volleyball team has a motto: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
On Thursday, the Braves capped off an incredible three-year feat — finishing their middle school careers undefeated with a perfect 49-0 record.
In their final match, the Braves (23-0) defeated Seymour 25-14, 25-15.
The group of girls started playing together in the fifth grade.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Braves coach Blakli Nading said. “They all encourage each other. They are constantly building each other up. As eighth graders, girls can have an attitude, but these girls don’t have that (bad) attitude.”
With 12 members on the team, picking six to take the court is one of the biggest problems for Nading.
However, that depth has helped the Braves stay unblemished.
“I think we play really well together,” said the Braves’ Addison Krieger. “We have such a strong bond, and I really love this team.”
Teammate Keeli Darlage added, “We play really good together and have a strong bond together. We are like family.”
On the court, the Braves rely on positive communication to get the job done.
“We have a tight bond,” eighth-grader Zoe Fountain said. “Most teams argue with each other, but we encourage each other. We have a great attitude.”
Riley Nuss agreed, saying, “I think we all have good attitudes toward each other. We don’t argue. We don’t take anyone down. We try to build each other up. We have great players, hitters and passers.”
Nading also recognized varsity coach Jennifer Shade, who has worked with the middle school girls in club volleyball since they were little.
Last year, Nading’s team went 19-1, while this year’s team beat that record finishing 23-0.
“I look forward to seeing these girls succeed as they move up,” Nading said. “These girls are very coachable. My advice is to constantly be a good teammate. You don’t have to love each other, but they do. They’ll never be this team again, but they have great memories. Some will play freshman ball and some will play junior varsity next year.”