STORY BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTOS BY WHITNEY JARRELD
In the TSSAA volleyball tournament, stadium rock classic “We Are the Champions” played over each and every team that was able to lay down that last spike to claim the top honors.
In more than one way, it was a song the Brentwood High School volleyball team had heard before and a song they had hoped to hear again.
The Lady Bruins pressed play and made it six by defeating Siegel in the Class AAA State Tournament finals 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-17) at MTSU’s Murphy Center Thursday evening.
It’s indeed the team’s sixth-straight victory in the state finals, and head coach Barbara Campbell’s fourteenth at the helm.
“They just wanted to finish with a win,” Campbell said of what drove the team with the potential for six on the line. “They didn’t want the tradition to end with them.
“They’re driven, but they’re goal-oriented. They’re driven kids, and I’m blessed to have them.”
The feeling is mutual for the team.
“She means everything,” Eggleston said of her coach. “She means everything. We’d be nowhere without her.”
It’s six. Brentwood volleyball wins its sixth-straight state title over Siegel 3-0. pic.twitter.com/5YRtY02MAE
— Brentwood Home Page (@brentwoodhomepg) October 18, 2018
In the first set, Brentwood made quick haste of the opponent, but a nail-biter of a middle set saw the Lady Bruins’s 8-1 run to start get brought to 14 all by Siegel and continue to stay close right to the set’s close.
Though, Carter got a crucial point on a prolonged play late into the second set to help the team escape 25-22.
To Eggleston, the close second set was a good time for the sky high Lady Bruins to come back to Earth for just a moment before reaching new heights.
“We knew we needed to focus in and keep our composure because we know that we were close,” Eggleston said. “We know we had it in the bag. We just needed to continue to trust each other, and pull that one out.”
For Carter, positive thinking, team encouragement and feedback from Campbell and her staff (as well as the fans) helped steady them to get that vital second-set victory.
“That helped us a lot,” she said.
From there, it was all Brentwood in the third as the game wore on, as the team made sure it’d hear that famous song play for them once more.
Senior Analeigh Wingo drove in the winning point for the team.
Shaye Eggleston finished her sophomore year with Brentwood leading the team in kills with 17, while sophomore Mary Oldham and sophomore Morgan Carter, the tournament’s MVP, had 14 a piece.
“It means the most to be [to get the win] because these are my favorite six seniors, and being with them, watching them when I was in middle school, means the most,” Carter said of the victory with the team’s seniors.
“Seeing them go just devastated me, but winning with them is the best thing that could happen. At least we’re ending on a bang.”
Senior Tori Carpenter finished her Brentwood career with 46 assists, and senior Andrea Aceveda closed out her time with the team with a team-high 17 digs. Senior Sydney Rexford had 16, Carter had 12 and Eggleston had 10.
The Lady Bruins went 4-0 in the tournament overall.
Shaye Eggleston starts her own legacy with Brentwood
Throughout the match, you could hear chants of “We want Logan” from the Siegel student section, referring to Logan Eggleston, Brentwood’s former volleyball titan who is now averaging double-digits for nationally-ranked Texas.
Though, they got her sister Shaye, who proved to be just as effective.
Eggleston has been the offensive driving force for the Lady Bruins all season, and she helped lead her sister’s alma mater to another state title Thursday. Logan was a key part of more than half of those previous five state wins, after all.
“I really am honored to be able to carry on her legacy, to continue that; finish what she started,” the younger Eggleston said.
A Ray of Sunshine in a Cloudy Brentwood Month
For the Brentwood High community, the win comes after a difficult month of mourning after the sudden death of Brentwood junior and football standout Lucas Davis.
For Campbell, she says the loss has weighed on the program and the entire community.
The Lady Bruins were about to start their postseason when the news came through.
“Kids have had heavy hearts,” Campbell said. “It’s been hard, especially the week right after…[We] prayed a lot, cried a lot, and just, together, as a school, we’re trying to get through it. [Davis] was a really nice young man, a good athlete.”
The coach says she was hoping the excitement of the tournament and the potential for a victory would lift the spirits of those who were in need of it most.
“We were hoping that we’d have some of our athletes in school here, and maybe just to be in an arena with the competition, if we could do well for them, that maybe that would be helpful,” she said. “It’s been tough; it’s been sad.”
For Eggleston, it was a chance to honor Davis and help bring that ray of sunshine into what’s been a cloudy time for her school and her classmates.
“It’s nice because we know that our classmates have had a really hard time,” she said. “So, [we hoped] to be really just able to play for Lucas, and play for each other, this week in this state tournament.”