Historic season ends in title game for Cedar Park

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If the first year of Kori Cooper’s tenure in charge of the Cedar Park volley- ball team is any indication of the future, the Lady Timberwolves are set up for a long runoff success.

She helped lead them to the state tournament for the second time in school history this season, where they beat Lucas Lovejoy in the semifinals to eclipse the deepest run in school history. Cedar Park lost to perennial power Amarillo in the state finals last Sat- urday.

“There are great things ahead for Cedar Park and these girls,” Cooper said. “When (the disappoint- ment) wears off, and it will wear off, there will be memories. It’s not where 

four of the Lady Timber- wolves’ first five matches in the playoffs, including a 3-2 win against Rouse in the regional finals at Texas Southern on Nov. 11.

Cedar Park came out 

of the gate strong against Lovejoy at the state tour- nament. It won the first set and held on for a 3-1 win, eliminating the team that beat them at the same stage in 2012.

The Lady Timberwolves were outgunned against Amarillo in the state final. The Sandies had a 54-39 advantage in kills and 57- 47 in digs en route to a four-set win.

“We were a little out- matched out there,” Coo- per said. “You hate it if you didn’t bring your best in the last match of the year, but we were playing in the last match of the year. I’m very proud of that fact.”

Cedar Park brings back 10 players from this sea- son, including first-team All-district middle block-

er Andrea Grimm and second-team All-District juniors Taylor Nunez and Emily Fry.

The Lady Timberwolves lose three-time All-Central Texas setter and District 19-5A MVP Lindsey Ledy- ard, middle hitter Luci Al- bertson, who earned TGCA all-state honors in 2015 and middle blocker Alana Geymer, who were both named to the All-District first team.

“They have a lot of ex- perienced players that are returning,” Ledyard said. “They’re going to be ready and I hope they make it back (to state).”

Cooper has a long history of winning. She won a NCAA National 

Championship at Nebras- ka as a freshman in 2006, won a state title as an as- sistant coach at Amarillo in 2013 and didn’t lose a district game as the head coach at Grapevine from 2014-2015.

Amarillo head coach Jan Barker, who won her 

10th state championship against her protege on Saturday, said she knows the future is bright at Ce- dar Park with Cooper in charge.

“She was one of the greatest players to come through our doors,” Barker said. “Kori is an 

outstanding person and coach and she’s going to do outstanding wherever she goes.”

Cooper didn’t want to dwell on her time with the Sandies following the state final, instead shift- ing focus to the magic her team made this season. 

“My heart lies with the Timberwolves and it will for as long as I’m with them,” she said. “They really made an impact on me, probably more than they really realize. That’s what coaching is all about and if Jan Barker taught me anything, it’s that.” 

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