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Knights look to send coach out with championship

November 10, 2018

Cabell Midland volleyball coach Julie Brumfield, center, talks with her team on Senior Night. The Knights play Hedgesville in the state tournament on Friday.

ONA — Cabell Midland High School volleyball coach Julie Brumfield said she will coach her last game this weekend. The Knights would love to send her out with a state championship.

Cabell Midland takes on Hedgesville at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Charleston Civic Center, with the winner advancing to the semifinals vs. the victor from Friday’s match featuring University and Woodrow Wilson. The other half of the bracket pits Spring Valley against Mussleman at 8:30 a.m., followed by St. Albans vs. Morgantown. Championship games are scheduled for Saturday.

The Knights reached the tournament with a regional semifinal triumph over Parkersburg, then upset undefeated Spring Valley in the finals. Cabell Midland took the first two sets over the Timberwolves, lost the next two, then captured the fifth set 15-7 to claim the Class AAA, Region IV title.

“We were just trying to get by Parkersburg, have fun and play,” Brumfield said. “I knew our girls were capable of winning, but Spring Valley has been such a juggernaut. They’ve been a dynasty. To beat them was big for us.”

If the Timberwolves are to gain revenge, it would be in the state championship game. Both teams have to get there first and Brumfield said she and her team are focused on playing their best against Hedgesville.

“Hedgesville is strong,” said Brumfield, who plans to retire after 17 seasons, 10 as a head coach at various schools. “They hit well. They pass well. Their mechanics are very good. We’ll have to be on our game.”

Beating Spring Valley gave the Knights a confidence boost. Brumfield said she hopes the momentum from that victory carries over into the state tournament, which Cabell Midland last participated in 2013 and last won in 1994.

“Our girls were hungry and had nothing to lose,” Brumfield said. “They’ve had that taste of success, now, and they don’t want it to be their last. We had a big crowd for the regional and Spring Valley always has a big crowd. Our girls will always remember that.”

Brumfield also experienced the state tournament as a player at Milton High School in 1985. Milton consolidated with Barboursville High to form Cabell Midland in 1994.

Brumfield credits her players and assistant coaches Gregg Childers and Aixa Crespo for the Knights’ success.

“Gregg’s always great with the girls,” Brumfield said. “Aixa has been a major asset. She has 17 years of club experience in Florida and her experience has been utilized with us.”

Cabell Midland figured to put a strong team on the court, but the Knights have gelled in the last month to become a state title contender.

“I knew we had a good team, we had talented players,” Brumfield said. “We just put in new rotations and positioning three weeks ago and I didn’t know how the girls would take to that, but they bought into it and know we can have success.”

The Knights will lose Brumfield and five seniors, but she leaves the program in strong shape.

“There is a lot of potential coming up,” Brumfield said. “And there’s a big class of freshmen coming up.”

Brumfield said she likely will miss coaching, but plans to enjoy watching Gracie play college volleyball and will spend time with her grandchildren and nephew.

“And I might officiate,” she said.

First, however, there is the matter of the state tournament.

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