At some point during the Calvary Chapel girls volleyball team banquet, head coach Nick Davis will run out of words to describe his senior class.
It’s surprising he hasn’t already.
The Lions’ five seniors have more than made their mark on the program. And they’ll try to add to it this weekend when Calvary Chapel competes in the Division III state tournament.
The Lions (29-4) face Pershing County in a semifinal at 4:40 p.m. Friday at Coronado. Lincoln County and Yerington meet in the other semifinal, with the two winners advancing to the title match at 10 a.m. Saturday at Green Valley.
“That class brought winning to this program,” Davis said. “As a program, we really hadn’t won. That class came in with a winning mentality.”
Since Allison Brown, Brooke Davis, Deja Harris, Athena Lewis and Jamie Mejia stepped on Calvary Chapel’s court for the first time as freshmen, the Lions are 113-37 overall. That includes a 50-6 mark in league play. The year before they arrived, the Lions were 4-10 in the Class 2A Southern League.
This will be the group’s third trip in as many years to the state tournament, though they’ve yet to advance past the semifinals, losing in four sets to Whittell in 2011 and in five sets last year to Pershing County.
“They’ve been to state since they were sophomores, and they don’t think of anything else but that,” Nick Davis said.
In Harris, the Lions have a potent weapon.
The 6-foot-2-inch middle hitter will play next season at San Diego State. In the meantime, she has picked on opponents with a monster swing.
Harris had 35 kills in the team’s two wins in the Southern League tournament. She racked up 33 kills in a win over Las Vegas and 31 kills in a victory over Legacy — two of the Lions’ five victories against Division I opponents.
“I know I can depend on her,” said Brooke Davis, the team’s setter.
Mejia and junior Alexis Harris both are solid weapons in the front row, giving the Lions plenty of options.
“Teams have to pay attention to Deja, and they forget about the other girls we have,” Nick Davis said. “It’s a luxury for our other hitters.”
Brooke Davis almost never comes off the court and is one of the team’s top servers along with a steadying hand at the net.
“I trust her 100 percent,” Harris said. “We’ve been playing with each other forever. I’ve grown up with Brooke.”
Lewis, a libero, also is among the team’s top servers, and rattled off the first 11 points of the third set of the Lions’ win over Lincoln County in the Southern League tourney final.
Brown is a defensive specialist who helps steady the back row.
“They know each other,” Nick Davis said. “They know their strengths, their weaknesses. They know where each other is going to be.
“It’s a huge plus to have a team that has been together for a while.”
If there is a year for the Lions to win a state title, this may be it.
Of the team’s four losses, two are to out-of-state schools in the season-opening Las Vegas Invitational tournament. The other two are to state semifinalists — Coronado, also in the LVI, and Pahranagat Valley.
But after 150 matches together, the Lions’ seniors are down to, at most, two. And one last chance to win a title.
“It’s our last year,” Brooke Davis said. “We’re trying to make it count.”