FALLS CITY, Texas — It's the eve of Falls City's first-ever volleyball playoff game, and head coach Peggy Swierc can't believe what her team has accomplished.
"That's what's such a Cinderella story about this. (The girls) started in August and look where they are now?" Swierc says with a smile on her face.
The Beaverettes didn't just start in August.
They started in August.
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I feel so bad for (coach) because we literally have no clue,'" junior Mylee Soliz said. "I was like, 'I wonder if she knew what she's gotten herself into,' because we had no idea what to expect."
Fellow junior Sydney Wiatrek added, "We didn't know the rules, positions, nothing. We were totally blindsided."
The Falls City ISD Board of Trustees approved the new volleyball program just last November. By July of this year, the town was still digging for its first head coach.
Swierc, retired and with 40 years of experience, was originally helping with the search.
"Well, no one wanted to leave and start a program from scratch," the 65-year-old said.
The search changed course.
"(Falls City Athletic Director Mark Kirchhoff) asked, 'Will you do it?' (I said), 'No, I'm not interested. I don't want to do this.' (He) took me to lunch, bought me some nachos, twisted my arm and I said, 'Alright.'"
So much work had to be done.
"They had nothing," Swierc said. "No balls, no uniforms, no nets, no courts, no anything."
"Oh, we were talking about maybe quitting," Wiatrek added, laughing. "We had no idea what to do. We were so overwhelmed."
Realistic goals were set.
"We did not expect to win. We did not expect to win at all," Wiatrek said. "We were just trying to get a certain number of hits over – a certain number of passes – just getting the ball over the net."
The 10 players (and zero seniors) were just excited to learn.
"They just were like a sponge. They just absorb. If they didn't, they ask you a question," Swierc said.
Then it happened: Success.
"Everyone was going crazy. We were like, 'Did this really...did we just win a game? This being our first year?'" Soliz said.
Progress punctuated with positive results. One win turned into eight wins by the end of the season.
"It was like a puzzle," Wiatrek said. "Everything started fitting together and we were just able to pull wins."
Soliz added, "They've been so patient and kind to us this whole way, encouraging. And without that, we definitely could not have made it as far as we have."
The thanks goes both ways.
"My husband is from here," Peggy said. "The Swierc name is very well known here in Falls City."
Peggy's husband, Sam, a former football player and administrator at the school, died roughly four years ago.
"I think a lot about him when I'm riding here and the things he's always talked about in Falls City, the traditions that are here, the expectations that are here."
He is a guiding voice, helping to build this volleyball program.
"I'll be honest, I think about him and say, 'Oh, daddy, you'd be so proud of what we're doing.'"
Soliz said, "It's all really just about family. Not necessarily wins and losses for us, but that we all grow together."
The process has been rewarding.
"We spent a lot of time and effort into this sport and we're so happy that we're able to finally show our community and coaches that we can do it," Wiatrek said.
It is a success we can now all believe.
"This has been a Cinderella story," Swierc said. "They did the grind. They put the work in. That just filled my heart to see kids, that know absolutely nothing, be able to bring something from scratch and step into the playoffs on Thursday."
Falls City plays Premont to begin the postseason.