When the 2018 varsity volleyball season began head coach Rachel Leu had a very simple plan for Montgomery County.

Based on numbers, the choice was to either have one varsity squad with a deep bench that didn't allow everyone to get on the court or both a varsity and a JV roster. The difference between these concepts was that having multiple lineups would mean neither would have much depth, but everyone on both teams would certainly be getting plenty of playing time. For Leu, it just made sense to choose the latter over the former, but that also meant getting to work with her athletes as soon as she could.

One effect that lack of depth had on the Lady Wildcats playing style was that none of these individuals was able to focus on any one area of the game. Instead, all of these girls had to be well versed in every possible scenario they might face, be it offensive, defensive or on the serve.

"I felt the team fulfilled all the goals we set for ourselves, which was: (Eastern Missouri) conference champs and to be in the championship game in districts as one of the top two teams in the district," said Leu.

Once playoff time rolled around Montgomery County not only had the good fortune to host Class 2, district 7, it also drew a bye for round one on Oct. 22. After that the team eliminated New Haven, 11-16-3 overall, in two sets on Oct. 24 to earn itself a place in the district championship game an hour later, where Hermann, 28-5-1 overall, came out on top in two sets despite the Lady Wildcats best effort.

"We were very blessed this year with no injuries. We had to learn the hard way when our setter was injured last year," Leu said. "The girls were able to stay healthy and anyone knows how important that is with any team/sport."

This year Montgomery County finished the year with a record of 16-10-1 overall, 8-0 EMO. Repeating as league champs in 2019 won't be the same because this squad graduates four seniors from this class, each of which brought something different, yet completely essential, to the formula this program used this season to go from where it was to where it moved up to.