Salina After making its first trip to the Class 4A state tournament in 2002, Baldwin High's volleyball squad scorched through the 2003 regular season, eventually earning a spot in the state-championship game Saturday.
A 25-14, 25-20 loss to Goodland later, and the Wildcats' season was finished. Final record: 41-3.
"It was probably the worst match of the year for us, and that's not the time for that to happen," Baldwin coach Jill Brown said. "We did well all weekend until that final match."
After three wins Friday, the Wildcats started Saturday with a 26-24, 25-10 victory over Abilene in the state semifinals.
Then the wheels fell off.
"We just played pretty tight and didn't play as aggressively as we had all year," Brown said. "That's why we were successful all year was because we were aggressive, and we didn't do it."
For the day, Emily Brown led Baldwin with 25 kills, nine blocks and five digs. Rachel Miles added six kills, eight blocks and seven digs; Kari Garrison had eight kills and 24 assists; and Katelyn Miles had four digs.
For a program that accomplished so much so quickly, coach Brown said the Wildcats were taking the loss hard.
"It kinda hurts right now," she said. "This year we had a whole different feel. We really thought we could win it.
"They put a lot of time and effort in, and that's why it hurts a lot."