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Senior emotion
Kaycee's Kendi Fauber, left, and Lathyn Hokanson collapse to the ground and hug after their team beat Cokeville for the Class 1A State Volleyball championship on Saturday night in Casper. It is Kaycee's first ever championnship. (Kerry Huller/Star-Tribune)

Kaycee's three seniors deserved a little extra stage time on Saturday.

Completing a third-grade dream earned Chelsea Jones, Kendi Fauber and Lathyn Hokanson that small right.

The trio shared a teary hug -- the Lady Buckaroos' first state volleyball championship trophy sat clutched between them -- after Kaycee survived an epic five-set marathon against Cokeville to beat the Panthers 3-2 (25-21, 16-25, 16-25, 27-25, 15-13) in the Wyoming State High School Class 1A Volleyball Championship match.

"We just put it [all] on the floor," said Jones, who led Kaycee with 18 kills and also added four blocks.

The Lady Bucs needed every ounce. After Kacyee took the first set, the Panthers woke up and stormed back to convincing wins in the second and third sets.

Cokeville controlled the better part of the fourth set before Jones took over late.

She had two blocks -- the second to tie the fourth set at 25-all -- and two Cokeville faults pushed the match to a fifth, and final, set.

The two teams seemingly traded points until a return by Cokeville junior Ashbee Petersen sailed outside the antenna to give Kaycee a 15-13 victory and the school its first state volleyball title.

"We were struggling for a minute, but I knew we could pull it back together," Kendi Fauber said.

It looked bleak for the Lady Bucs in the middle of the match. The Panthers pummeled Kaycee from the outside behind seniors Olivia Teichert (25 kills) and Lauren Fiscus (14 kills) and Ashbee Petersen (18 kills).

But Cokeville coach Bill Thompson said the toughest part of the loss for his girls, were the mental mistakes.

"A few mental mistakes on our part," Thompson said. "It could have gone either way. We had them in the fourth game, and we let it go."

And then there was Jones.

"Chelsea Jones just came to play and she kept coming at us," Thompson said.

Jones said she knew that Kaycee wasn't out of it after the rally in the fourth set.

"I knew we were gaining the momentum [back]," Jones said. "I just couldn't stop thinking about how bad we needed that next point."

Kaycee coach Maggie Hokanson credited her three seniors and their leadership with holding the team together late in the match.

That was evident when Kendi Fauber offered one of the team's mantras after the win.

"Nothing drops to the floor," Fauber said.

Except maybe a few tears.

Contact sports reporter Clint Robus at clint.robus@trib.com or (307) 266-0615. Read his blog at trib.com/epreps

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