Marshall volleyball

Isabella Emery, left and Emily Hill helped get their Lady Mavs to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

Marshall and sophomore Isabella Emery junior Emily Hill are proud to be part of history as they helped their Lady Mavs make the volleyball playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

In order to claim that fourth playoff spot, the Lady Mavs had to come out on top in a tournament last Saturday when they defeated Longview and Pine Tree, two teams that had each defeated the Lady Mavs twice in district play.

“I think we just played as a team,” Emery said. “We didn’t dwell on our mistakes. We just picked each other up and we just had a lot of energy and we were excited to play.”

“We had a goal and we worked toward it,” Hill added. “We really wanted it.”

In order to punch their ticket to the second round, Emery and Hill believe they need to continue doing what got them to where they are.

“I think we just need to keep playing as a team and I think we have the momentum from beating Longview and Pine Tree to win,” Emey said. “I think we have a really good chance.”

“If we believe in ourselves, we can do it,” Hill said.

Beating Longview and Pine Tree served as a major confidence booster for the Lady Mavs.

“It just proved that we had grown as a team, come together and gotten better,” Emery said.

Both Emery and Hill have played volleyball since the fourth grade and have learned life lessons through the game and this year was no exception.

“If you work together, you can do anything,” Hill said.

“I’d say to not give up because earlier in the season, even though we had lost a bunch of games, we still came back in the tournament and beat Pine Tree and Longview who beat us both times and Longview swept us the last time we played them,” Emery said. “So I think it was a good feeling and a lesson not to give up and just believe in ourselves.”

The two say they’re extra motivated to win for their senior teammates.

“They were saying, ‘This is our last time. We might not ever play again,’” Emery explained. “So it’s more special to us because that wasn’t their last game.”

“To give them a chance to continue playing means a lot to us,” Hill offered.

The Lady Mavs enter the playoffs with an overall record of 6-11 and a district record of 4-8. Hill has totaled 63 kills and 17 blocks this season while Emery has 187 digs and 14 aces.

“Emily Hill brings a consistency and she’s been a steady contributor for us. She keeps a lot of balls in play,” Marshall head volleyball coach She’s kind of like our silent killer. Isabella has stepped into the role of libero recently. She’s a sophomore and she has been really consistent the last few weeks with her serve-receive, which is why we made that change. She’s been our dig leader all year, really despite only playing half the time, so that’s been really big for us.”

The Lady Mavs have their work cut out for them as they take on the top seeded Texas High Lady Tigers.

“We know they’re first in their district and we also know that they haven’t been to the playoffs in five years, so their whole team is just as nervous as we are,” Emery said. “We haven’t been to the playoffs and we haven’t been to the playoffs. That makes feel a little better because we’re walking into something totally new but they are too.”

Tonight’s game between Marshall and Huntsville is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start at Nacogdoches High School.