By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (October 2, 2015) — Kelsey Raglin didn’t hesitate, but she also didn’t boast.
Her answer made it clear she is a believer, but that she knows there is work still to put in, challenges still to overcome.
The question – Can Tarleton State win the 2015 Lone Star Conference volleyball championship?
Not the season ending tournament. That bucket list item was checked off last year, though no one would argue with a second straight tourney title.
The whole grueling thing. The months long battle, hitting the road, returning home, getting to class then to practice then to games.
And she believes they can.
“You know what, I firmly believe there is a possibility,” Raglin said during an interview following a radio show appearance at Legends Country Club Monday evening. “This conference is one of the strongest in the nation. There are going to be wins here and losses there and upsets here and there. We just need to stay positive and focused on our goal and I think we can do it.”
Tarleton is currently third in the LSC race, but in reality are just a loss out of a first-place mess. Angelo State is 4-0 in league matches, its key win coming over Tarleton in San Angelo. Tarleton hosts ASU on October 21.
Cameron is 3-0, but is yet to face any of the teams expected to contend for the league title.
And then there is Tarleton at 3-1 with LSC victories over upstart Texas A&M-Commerce and Texas Woman’s and lowly Eastern New Mexico. The only TexAnn loss in a league match came when they made 35 errors in four sets at ASU. The only other losses on the season for the 12-3 Tarleton team came when they couldn’t hold 2-0 leads in back-to-back matches in a classic in Colorado.
Now, Tarleton has won four straight with those wins coming in a five-day stretch last week. They have since been idle, but visit Heartland Conference member St. Edward’s at 7 p.m. Friday in Austin for a regional battle. Then it’s back to LSC play with a 2 p.m. Saturday match at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“It was such a relief I can’t even tell you,” Raglin said of the four wins in five days. “That’s what we were practicing hard for in two-a-days and training so hard off the court for was weeks just like that. You have to train yourself to be as fresh and ready on Saturday as you were Tuesday. To pull out all four wins was just incredible.”
And a testament to the leadership of the team. To young women like Raglin who have been through the ups and downs and have learned to handle the adversity.
“Our core group has just been around so long. We have seven seniors who have been together four years,” pointed out Raglin, a 5-9 outside hitter from San Antonio and Churchill High School. “That’s a huge aspect of this team. We know the game and we know each other. Our chemistry is awesome.”
And how to get ready for each big match.
“We do a lot of yelling and screaming, but we also do a lot of praying. A lot of us are invested in our faith a lot and we lean on that and each other,” she said. “But we also get crazy together and we love the sport.”
During her radio interview Monday, Raglin was asked by local broadcast talent Keltin Wiens how she was able to “get up,” for every match.
“It’s easy to go out there when you love the girl to your right and to your left and when you love your university and program as much as I do,” Raglin answered.
Later, in a one-on-one interview for this article, Raglin expounded on her love of Tarleton.
“Tarleton State has just become such a big part and a good part of my life. I’m so thankful for all the traditions, and it’s so nice to go to a university where you’re cared about. This community is so supportive of us, and whether we win or lose they show us that they care.
“Wearing that school name on the back of your jersey is truly an awesome feeling when you know you play for a university you are truly in love with,” she added. “It’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve experienced in this world.”
A feeling that would only grow with an LSC regular season title, something no Tarleton team has celebrated before.
“That’s what we want is to continue to accomplish goals no one else has here,” said Raglin. “We want to bring a championship to Tarleton.”