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Rallying together: Teamwork drives Boyd to success

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, July 7, 2018
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Best of Sports 2017-2018: Team of the Year

Boyd Volleyball

2017-2018 Boyd Volleyball team. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Down a set and falling behind 24-14 in the second against the previous year’s state runnerup Peaster, the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets’ season appeared headed to an end again in the region quarterfinal.

With no room for error, sophomore Kamryn Frenzel stepped to the service line with only one thought on her mind.

“Don’t mess up,” Frenzel recalled. “Honestly, I thought I can’t cost my team a game that’s so important to our season.”

Led by Frenzel’s aggressive serving, Boyd rattled off the next 12 points to take the game and start the comeback in the thrilling five-set victory that lifted the Lady Yellowjackets to new heights.

“Once we got past Peaster, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh. We can do anything. We can go to state.’ I don’t think that was our mindset – ‘get to state.’ It was to get to them,” said junior Jordyn Todd.

Two sweeps at regionals later, state is exactly where the Lady Yellowjackets landed. Matched up with defending 3A champion Goliad in its UIL championships debut, Boyd battled back from a 2-0 deficit to get to a fifth set. Eventually, Goliad held on to bring an end to the Boyd’s amazing ride.

The 38-8 season and run to the 3A semifinal made the Lady Yellowjackets this year’s Wise County Team of the Year.

“To get this award, this means the most to me because I think ‘team’ is the reason we were so successful,” said Boyd coach Dusty Crafton, who was the 2017 Wise County Coach of the Year. “We’ve never made it about an individual. We don’t pay a lot of attention to stats. Most of my kids don’t ask what were my kills. They know that’s not what matters. What matters is were we successful as a whole? You get to a point where everyone is good; you’ve got to have something that gives you an edge. I really do think the fact we were united as a team and felt like sisters on the court gave them that edge.”

Coming off a 41-5 season and the program’s first trip to the region quarterfinal where it lost to Peaster in four games, Boyd had high expectations. But there was no dreaming of state.

As the season began, Boyd rolled up impressive wins over Argyle, Krum and several other larger schools. It was a win over Decatur that truly elevated the Lady Yellowjackets’ goals.

“The Decatur match was huge for us. Decatur has always been so successful and so talented,” Crafton said. “That meant a lot to us. [Coach Clark Oberle] was the first one to really say something to me. He said you’ll probably be at the state tournament. I already thought we could be really successful, but for another coach that I highly respect to say that meant a lot.”

The Lady Yellowjackets displayed the look of a state team, going on an 11-match winning streak and sweeping their first seven 8-3A matches.

One frustrating night in Holliday temporarily derailed Boyd. On an emotional night, the Lady Yellowjackets suffered their first district loss since 2015. The match fell on the one year anniversary of the death of Crafton’s brother Zac Webb.

“All my kids were aware of that, and they all wore their purple shirts [for him]. They had flowers for me, and it was so on their minds,” Crafton said. “I feel all they were thinking about was me and how I felt that day, which is wonderful and I’m so appreciative of that. But our minds weren’t really focused. I’m not going to say it was wrong for us not to be focused because some things are just bigger than the game.”

The players’ love for their coach, who Todd called the “backbone” of the team, was never more evident. It also fit the culture of the team.

“We’re all family. We play as a family, and there’s no drama,” said junior Larrin Maxwell. “We all get along so well. We know it takes each other.”

The loss served as a wake-up call for the Lady Yellowjackets for the rest of district play. Boyd swept the next nine matches, including bi-district and area round wins over Tolar and Clyde.

The Lady Yellowjackets then found themselves in a top-10 matchup with Peaster. Boyd trailed by 10 in the second game when Frenzel turned the match around. To Crafton, it was fitting the season rested with the selfless sophomore, who had changed positions during the season.

“She knew her role. That’s one thing about this group and made us strong as a team is that people understood their role and accepted it,” Crafton said. “Everyone wants to be that big hitter, but that wasn’t everyone’s role. That wasn’t what made our puzzle work. They all really bought into what their job was.”

Even after coming back and winning the second set, Boyd had to claw back from a 2-1 deficit to win the fourth game. It eventually scored the victory 15-11 in the fifth set.

“I felt so accomplished. It felt great, and I cried for a long time,” Todd said about the win over Peaster.

The Boyd players quickly regrouped for the region tournament and took care of Alpine and Brock in straight sets to secure the trip to state.

Taking the floor in front of a sea of gold, the Lady Yellowjackets battled nerves and the tough challenge of playing the defending state champion. Boyd dropped the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-21.

Then suddenly the Lady Yellowjackets picked themselves up off the canvas to get back in the match, winning the third and fourth sets.

Crafton was not surprised by the team’s fight.

“There’s no way to prepare kids for that environment,” she said. “They had to work it out. The first two games were not the way we play. Then we started to rally. I was proud of them.”

Boyd staged a final comeback after falling behind 6-2 in the fifth to tie the set at 10. But Boyd could get only one more point before Goliad’s Amaya Brown ended the match and the Lady Yellowjackets’ season.

Afterward, the Boyd fans gave the Lady Yellowjackets a standing ovation.

“Even though we lost, they started chanting,” Todd said. “I just cried. That’s what I play for – for them.”

Boyd returns all but the four seniors from last year’s squad – Macey McCune, Shaylee Martin, Jacey Cate and Rebecca Jordan – as they bid for a return to Garland and another chance to capture a town’s imagination.

“This isn’t just about volleyball. If volleyball is the only reason you’re here, it’s not enough,” Crafton said. “You play for your community, your family and you try to represent people you love and care about through a sport. You never know when you’re giving somebody some hope. What I really love about sports is that it brings people together.”

Boyd Volleyball 2

2017-2018 Boyd Volleyball team. Submitted photo

WISE COUNTY TEAM OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS

2010: Decatur girls cross country
2011: Decatur volleyball
2012: Alvord girls basketball
2013: Decatur boys cross country
2014: Decatur volleyball
2015: Decatur volleyball
2016: Decatur boys golf
2017: Bridgeport boys soccer
2018: Boyd volleyball

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