"They work so hard in the offseason, the gym, and every day in practice," Smith said. "It gets to be such a grind and they come in every day ready to work, and it shows on the court. We make less mistakes because we work so hard in practice and they don't ever panic, which I like."
For all intents and purposes, Capital may have won the war while losing the battle on Thursday.
The Cougars were visibly fatigued after their grueling 25-17, 22-25, 28-26, 25-15 play-in match with South Charleston, and Capital coach Carolyn Taylor admitted her team left it all on the court before the finals ever commenced.
But Taylor was anything but discouraged, going as far as to guarantee a win the next time her squad takes the floor.
"It feels amazing, it brought tears to my eyes," Taylor said of making it to the regional. "This is a big victory for our team. This is one of the best teams we've had. It was a disappointing end, however the girls were tired and put it all in to get that win to go to regionals. How we played that second game is definitely no match for how we're going to put up a fight and take regionals. Capital will be going to the states this year."
Hannah Shreve had nine kills, an ace, and a block for GW while Jordan Wittekind added 11 kills and two blocks. Sydney Downey registered 25 assists for the Patriots.
Paige Lucas and Emily Dorsey each recorded seven points to lead Capital.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.