Have you ever had that next door neighbor that seems to get everything they want? The same holds true for the First Colonial Patriots. It seems their next door neighbor, the Cox Falcons, get everything and anything, that is until now.
“It’s not a team sport, it’s a family sport – we are a family – we are all brothers and we just come out and do what we need to do,” says Connor Holt, team captain.
And what they do is win! The First Colonial Boys’ Volleyball Team has taken down the defending state champions and backyard neighbor, the Cox Falcons, three times this season including last Tuesday night at the home of the Falcons.
Senior and team captain Connor Holt knows it’s this year or bust.
“Nothing less than a state title will pretty much leave us with our heads down,” says Holt.
Adam Slattum is the other senior team captain.
“This team is very good –we are not undefeatable though there are teams out there that can beat us so we have to work to our full potential every day and we need to come out to play hard every single day,” says Slattum.
Each day as the team practices, there is a photo on the wall, a photo that is a gentle reminder of the last time they won a state title 16 years ago.
“They see it every year and they want that – they want that feeling – Adam and Conner were on the team when we made it to states, but didn’t play. They want to be on that court – they want their picture on the wall and they have said that several times,” says head coach Gary Bridges.
“It’s difficult, but it’s also a motivator, too. It gives us this internal drive that makes us just want to win and do it for part of the school and also our coach because our coach has never won a state championship before,” says Slattum.
“We’ve had great teams in the past but like coach tells us, he has never had a team this great and this is definitely the year to do it. Being a senior and with my co-captain Adam and Jy Seth – this is the year to take a state title and we have to work to do that,” says Holt.
They have one advantage this year and that is having Seth Blevins on the club, he is a big hitter who gets them timely points when they need it the most.
“It’s one of the best feelings really,” says Blevins.
“I think with our depth and talent, we have a good chance if we put in the work we can win it,” says
How does coach keep his kids grounded and not get caught up in all the hype?
“We have a lot of early season success and to keep that focus for such a long season is a challenge. It’s a challenge day in and day out and if anybody has a magic pill to do that, I would love to do that. It’s tough – they are anxious. They want to move into the post season and it’s important they understand that every game is the game they need to prove they are a champion and not the ones in the post season, the ones right in front of them,” says Bridges.