It’s the single biggest day of the 2020 volleyball season for the Laramie Lady Plainsmen. They take their shot at a second state championship in school history.

Laramie enters the Class 4A State Volleyball Championships as the favorite. They are 21-0 on the season and have won 57 of 62 sets they’ve played this year.

Head coach Jill Stucky knows her team has the favorite mantle in this year’s state tournament.

“We’ve had that role the entire season, so it’s nothing new for our group, at this point. If we are the ones to beat that’s okay because we’re going to train (this week) like the ones to beat.”

Stucky knew that managing their nutrition, sleep, and stress levels during this week of preparation would be key to getting through the rigors of a one-day state tournament.

“We have to be really smart about our set-distribution so that we have enough arms by the end of the day (on Saturday). That’s going to be a big deal, and we have to manage our downtime at state and what fuel we put into our kids during that downtime. I have to find a spot for them to get off their feet and just shut their brains off for a while so that moving towards the next match isn’t going to feel as difficult or hard. I think endurance and outlasting our opponents I going to be a big deal on Saturday.”

As for the players’ perspective, KOWB’s David Settle spoke to junior Anna Gatlin and freshman Maddy Stucky about the state tournament. Gatlin described her experience last year versus this being Stucky’s first experience. They both talked about getting ready for this environment and knowing the stakes are raised, plus the potential to play three matches in a single day, and more in the video above.

The first-round match pits Laramie against Star Valley for a second consecutive year. LHS swept the Braves in three sets a year ago. They are 15-9-1 on the season.

Coach Stucky said about their first opponent, “Star Valley is an interesting team because they have some really athletic outside hitters, and they have a group that comes together, and all their parts are good, and they come together to make a really good whole.”

She also worries about her team playing that one bad match at the wrong time.

“It crosses my mind before every single match we’ve played this year. Going into every match, you worry are we going to pass well today? Are we going to hit well today? Or, instead, are we going to hit the back wall and shank every pass because, maybe, we didn’t quite prepare enough. But, for this group this week, I’m not going to ask anything special or anything more than what they’ve given me this year. It’s important that we focus on what we can control.”

Stuck also admitted that her team has done a very good job of focusing on themselves.

“We spend a lot of time worrying about our side of the net, and we put a lot of time and effort into how we want to execute our block and defense, how we want to set up on our opponents’ hitters, and the defense we want set up around it. I think that if we focus on those pieces right there, just like we have all year, we should be just fine.”

The Lady Plainsmen play at 10 a.m. on Court No. 4 at the Casper Events Center. The next match would be at 1 p.m. and the final match is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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