West Plains volleyball opens season in historic fashion


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The West Plains Lady Wolves opened their inaugural season with a pair of wins against Midland Greenwood and Lubbock Monterey in Lubbock on Tuesday night. [Photo provided by Steve Patterson]

Months of building and eager anticipation finally became a reality for West Plains High School.

The Lady Wolves volleyball team made history Tuesday night in more ways than one not only competing in the school’s first ever athletic event but opening successfully by winning their first two matches in a triangular at Lubbock Monterey.

West Plains was more than impressive sweeping Midland Greenwood, 25-23, 25-17, 25-21, followed by a sweep of Lubbock Monterey, 25-20, 27-25, 25-17.

“I truly feel these wins are bigger than just volleyball,” first-year head coach Kaitlyn Cornelius said. “It’s about the culture of excellence we are trying to build at West Plains. We have amazing coaches from all sports, boys and girls, who have been pouring into this team and these athletes teaching them to be resilient, selfless, and supportive teammates. We rally behind each other and want to watch all of our kids and coaches be successful in their programs.”

Cornelius was hired as the first ever head coach of West Plains High School in January alongside head football coach Adam Cummings back in January. Since that time, Cornelius has hit the ground waiting for this moment.

“It is a team effort here at West Plains,” Cornelius said. “It had to be when we first started. I am honored and proud that we had the opportunity to be the first win for this school. These players deserve it. I can’t wait to see what they continue to do.”

During the sweep of Greenwood, Jayli Franklin and Aaliyah Womble led the Lady Wolves (2-0 overall) with eight kills, while Zenaida Murillo and Cecilia Murillo dished out a combined 31 assists. In the win over Monterey, Piper Patterson tallied a team-best 10 kills and followed by Riley Patterson’s four blocks, and Zenaida Murillo handed out 20 assists, totaling 36 between the two matches.

“I really liked how we played,” Cornelius said. “We spread the ball well with our hitters and made some great hustle plays. We had to battle our way out of a couple holes, but we were able to dig ourselves out and control of what was happening on our side of the court. They competed from start to finish.”

West Plains hopes to continue its early momentum when they play in the Monahans Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

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