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Head coach Shawn Pyer and the Rock Springs High School volleyball team storm the court after defeating Star Valley during the 4A West Regional volleyball tournament in Cody. The win allowed the Tigers to punch their ticket to the state tournament for the first time in seven years.

CODY — With a second-place finish in Cody last weekend, the Rock Springs High School volleyball team punched its ticket to the state tournament for the first time in seven years.

“That’s been our goal for the last three years,” head coach Shawn Pyer said. “Even though we went into regionals feeling confident, I told the girls before the first game not to overlook any of our opponents and that it doesn’t matter what we or anyone else did during the regular season. At regionals it’s a different atmosphere where anyone can beat anyone.”

As the No. 2 seed from the Northwest Conference, RSHS opened up regionals with a 3-0 win over Green River before facing a tough Star Valley team in the second round.

“Just a few weeks ago, they beat us on our home floor,” Pyer said of Star Valley. “The match lasted five sets, so we knew going in that they were a really good team.”

After another heated five-set battle, the Tigers defeated the Braves 3-2 with scores of 23-25, 25-12, 21-25, 25-22 and 15-9.

“That was a very emotion win, especially for our upperclassmen,” Pyer said. “As soon as we won, everyone stormed the floor in tears.”

Following their 2-0 start, the Tigers wrapped up the tournament on Saturday with a 3-0 loss to Kelly Walsh in the regional championship, but still qualified for the state tournament.

Up next, Rock Springs will travel to Casper on Thursday, Nov. 7, for the start of the state volleyball championship. The Tigers enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed in the West and will play Thunder Basin in the first round at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

In August, Rock Springs beat Thunder Basin 2-1. However, Pyer isn’t letting her team get caught up with what happened over two months ago.

“We aren’t the same teams that we were back in August,” she said. “At state, every team is capable of winning, and I expect to both teams to come out fighting.”

Despite qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in almost a decade, Pyer and her players still aren’t satisfied.

“Our girls are hungry,” Pyer said. “It’s great that we have qualified, but we are not OK with just making the trip up there. We expect to go in ready to compete with anybody.”

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