The records on the last time Joshua played postseason volleyball are so scarce, there's not even a trophy case with evidence at the high school.
According to the UIL and Star-Telegram, no Lady Owls team has made the playoffs since 1983.
Prior to that, no one seems to know. Add on the mysterious question of the last time the Lady Owls beat Burleson and it's received like a final Jeopardy question.
"I have no idea on any of those, at least not in my four years," coach Craig Bethell said. "It's been a long time, I know that. For us, we're trying to get to that next level and now we just need to see how consistent we can be."
In bidding to perhaps be the first team to capture a playoff berth in school history, Joshua has put together a 26-8 record, 7-2 in District 8-4A.
Tack on a signature victory Tuesday over first-place Burleson and there's a definite volleyball buzz on campus.
Bethell preaches defense and for the first time as head of the program, he's watching the fruit grow before his eyes.
"It really is fun, but it's been a roller coaster too and in some ways still is," he said. "It's like climbing that first hill and then the bottom just drops out and you lose your breath and then all the sudden you're climbing back up again."
Against Burleson, the Owls needed just about every defensive play to piece together a win. It started with Katherine Martin's 27 digs and Ashley Brakel's 19.
They were the significant ingredient in Joshua's rare 6-3 offense. That's six players on the floor, but three setters that work on assignment.
"It's really confusing to a lot of teams," Bethell said. "Once they get used to one, then the other steps in for one series, then the other and so on. They never know who's who and I like that."
It's Brakel, a sophomore playing her second season on varsity, that tees it up for hitter Maddison Moad and middle blockers Hannah Nelson and Calie Payne.
Moad leads the team with 282 kills in 970 attacks this season. Nelson and Payne have combined for 119 blocks. Brakel has 314 assists.
The win over Burleson was a shock to just about everyone but Bethell. He pointed out that the Lady Elks beat Joshua in three straight sets earlier this season, then followed that up by winning their first match of district this season by a total of 10 points.
"We were getting better and it's hard to beat someone three times in one season," Bethell said. "The thing I want them to do now is be consistent."
Mansfield takes a hit
The Lady Tigers lost their first district game of the season to Cedar Hill in a five-set match and fell into a tie for first place in District 7-5A.
The Lady Longhorns' only loss in district had come against Mansfield during the first swing of the district slate. Cedar Hill won a five-set match.
Friday's key games
Burleson Centennial at Joshua, 6:30 p.m.: Can the Lady Owls hold on to second place alone?
FW Western Hills at Granbury, 6:30 p.m.: Western Hills looks to avenge an earlier loss to the Lady Pirates.
Tuesday's key games
Arlington Martin at Arlington Lamar, 6:30 p.m.: Lamar can make a statement with a win over the second-place Lady Warriors.
Hurst L.D. Bell at Colleyville Heritage, 6:30 p.m.: Bell looks to hold onto third place.
Keller Central at Richland, 6:30 p.m.: The loser of this game might be on the outside looking in for the playoffs.
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