Fairy tales have been passed on for generations.
Essentially, it’s a children’s story involving sometimes crazy characters. More often than not, a “happily ever after” sort of ending.
It wasn’t the ending the storymakers wanted, but Ridgewood’s volleyball team made people believe in fairy tales again.
There were many questions about this team heading into the season.
How would Kayla Crozier do in her first year as coach? How would Laura Crawford’s knee hold up after surgery? Can this team overcome youth and inexperience to contend in the Inter-Valley Conference?
After starting 6-0 and winning every match in straight sets, the Generals defeated Tuscarawas Central Catholic in five sets on the road and put the area on notice.
It was Ridgewood’s first win against TCC in six seasons.
“I am very proud of them and happy for them,” Crozier wrote in an e-mail after that match. “Coming together as a team like they did is a feeling they won’t forget.”
Little did she know what would unfold.
Another five-set win at home against TCC in early October and victories against Malvern and Hiland to close the regular season clinched the outright IVC title.
With a 20-1 record heading into the tournament, the offseason questions became an afterthought and a new question arose: Just how good is this team?
The Generals rolled past Harrison Central, Coshocton and Fort Frye to reach a district final, then beat Tuscarawas Valley in four sets for the team’s first regional berth since 2001.
“Tusky Valley has always been our show-stopper come tournament time,” Crozier said then. “Beating them and Tuscarawas Central Catholic this year were big humps for this group and something we can keep building on.”
The momentum continued with wins against Scioto Valley Conference members Williamsport Westfall — in four sets — and Frankfort Adena — in five — to reach a Division III state semifinal.
Although Ridgewood fell to Gates Mills Gilmour Academy in straight sets Friday, the memories of this tournament run will remain.
With each match, support grew. Even after the final point, the team’s fans rose as one, cheering and understanding how difficult of a journey it was just to get there.
A team with one senior, three juniors, four sophomores, five freshmen and a first-year coach took Coshocton County on an unforgettable journey.
Stories like this live on.
There is hope for next season: a sequel.