Statistically speaking: Team ties national mark with 22nd title

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Winning a state title is never easy, but the way Bishop England (South Carolina) High School's been piling up the trophies recently, anything but a piece of state hardware each season is considered unacceptable. You see, Bishop England has a history of producing successful volleyball teams.

How successful, you ask? Well, coming into the 2011 season, Bishop England had won the state volleyball championship an impressive 11 times ... in a row. And after defeating Gilbert (South Carolina) High School, 23-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16, in the Class AA championship game on Saturday, the school now boasts an incredible 12 state titles in a row.

As the Post and Courier reported, the 12th consecutive state title gave Bishop England 22 in the school's history -- which started in 1977 -- matching Burris (Indian) High School for the most state volleyball titles in the country. The 12 titles in a row also matched the fifth longest streak in high school sports history.

The pressure seemed to be too much for Bishop England early on, as the school dropped the opening game to Gilbert in the state final. As the Post and Couries noted, it the first time since 2004 that the school had lost a game in the playoffs. But the wakeup call seemed to be enough, as Bishop England roared back to win the next three games.

"We try not to focus on the records, streaks and that, but you can't help it when you have the media bringing it up all the time," Bishop England coach Cindy Baggott told the Post and Couries. "This the toughest group of girls I've ever had to keep focused. Again, I think a lot of it has to do with the youth that we have on the floor. It's just been amazing."

Conventional wisdom usually says you need senior experience to win state titles. But with a team comprised of mostly sophomores and juniors, Bishop England defied the odds to win another championship. The school has had continual success over the past 12 years no matter who rotates into the varsity squad; it's also big reason why the records are even more astounding when you look at what the team's done for more than decade.

"Every one is just as special as the first one," Baggott told the Post and Courier. "It's a different group of girls every year. We have to start from scratch and find the chemistry and see what works. We always hope by November we have it figured out."

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