By Chandler Morrison, Chattanooga, Tenn., — The volleyball team displayed their grit and determination over the weekend by advancing to the championship match of the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2001.

Headlined by an experienced five-member senior class, and two standout juniors, the Mocs are flying high on a season that many thought wasn’t meant to be.

“There’s not many times in life or in athletics when a group of people come together and set one goal in mind and they only have one shot to do it,” head coach Travis Filar said. “But that’s exactly what this group did.

“This team of sixteen individuals came together in August and said, ‘we have one dream, and it’s to be regular season Southern Conference champions,’” Filar added. “The fact that they said that, put it out there, put it in print, everybody know about it, and they went out and achieved that…That is the definition of success.”

Filar, though, says that the team as a whole hasn’t yet reached their true potential out on the court.

“They have reached the mountain-top,” Filar said. “Now, they’re trying to get to a higher peak, which is not just to win the regular season, but to also to go do the same at the tournament championship. [This season] has already been a success, but from now on it’s just going to be added success, a bonus if you will.”

To get to that higher peak, there is always work involved, and the Mocs have worked harder every practice to achieve their extended collective goal.

“Obviously, any team is still going to have things that they can work on,” senior outside hitter Briana Reid said. “We’re a team that relies heavily on our attacking. It’s hard for the other teams to stop us because there are so many options. So we’re just trying to get more reps honestly.

“Our motto is ‘sixteen as one,’” Reid said. “We just decided that there’s not a team out there that has a better teamas we do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the court or whether you’re cheering on the sidelines or whether you’re a coach or a trainer. We just feel that we have the strongest program, and I think that this year everybody truly believes that.”

The Mocs faced off against the Furman Paladins in the Southern Conference Championship on Monday. Check theutcecho.com for results.