ELCHO - The high school girls' volleyball season will be wrapping up shortly, and for the Elcho varsity team, this year means history.
They won the Northern Lakes Conference for the first time ever, and the squad recognizes how significant that accomplishment really is.
For seniors Brenna Denamur and Mackenzie Novak, playing volleyball all four years at Elcho hasn't been the easiest experience. But everything changed this year.
"This last year I feel like we've really come together as a team and worked well as a team," said Denamur.
"We trust each other and we have fun on the court."
Those seniors have had four coaches in the last four years. When head coach Kate Schabach came to town, everything changed.
"Definitely a lot more structure," Novak said. "I think she took us girls, figured out where we belong, and then really put us together as a team."
Not only is Schabach with the girls on the court, she also teaches at the school and sees them during the day.
"During passing periods I'll definitely wave, and they'll be like 'Hey, Coach'," said Schabach.
When she became coach, she gave the team goals, one of which was getting their own banner hanging in the gym to show off what they've accomplished.
"We came into it with one goal--to start with getting a banner up on the wall--and we've accomplished that," said Novak.
Laona/Wabeno has won the last three conference titles.But Elcho beat them earlier this year and that set the stage for Thursday night's matchup.
"Knowing that tonight is going to be just as important as that first time we played them, it's awesome," said Schabach. "We're really excited."
Having the community in the gym cheering them on to win the title makes a world of difference.
"The girls feed off of it," said Schabach. "They love having that outside support because they know someone else is caring about what they're doing other than just their coach and their families."
Shabach recognizes how important that banner is for her first year on the job.
"We finally found our banner, and knowing that there's no numbers on it yet and we get to seal a number on there in the near future, it means more than words can explain," she said.
Not only are the girls excited with their new coach, the town of Elcho is too.
"The one comment that was brought to me the other day in the hallway was, 'Welcome to Elcho. We're glad you're here,' and you don't get that other places," said Schabach.
Thursday night's score didn't matter for the conference title because it was determined by standings, not a bracket. But Elcho did win, making the title even sweeter.