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KWL's Deffenbaugh captures 300th career win

KIMBALL—It's not about the wins for Sarah Deffenbaugh.

It's about the relationships she has developed as coach of the Kimball/White Lake WiLdKats.

"For me, it's not really about the wins," Deffenbaugh said. "It's about seeing all these girls that go through my program and how much fun that has been to be connected to them in some way through coaching and that's probably the most enjoyable part about it."

Those relationships helped her achieve a coaching milestone on Tuesday. Kimball/White Lake outlasted Mount Vernon/Plankinton in a five-set marathon thriller as Deffenbaugh recorded her 300th career coaching win.

The milestone was special for a number of reasons. The WiLdKats needed five sets to knock off the Titans 25-20, 14-25, 26-24, 25-27 and 15-10.

"It's definitely memorable," she said. "I don't think I will forget that one. It was just a battle with Mount Vernon/Plankinton."

Deffenbaugh praised MVP coach Darcy Deinert and her program, which neighbors KWL along Interstate 90.

"We have had some really good volleyball matches," Deffenbaugh said. "Because she has been the coach for a long time, too. We have had some really good moments on the court. It was fun to get that win against them and they put up a good fight and our girls did, too. I was happy with how hard our girls played."

Also, Deffenbaugh's daughters—senior Darby and eighth-grader Dani—are on the team and they all shared the moment together on Tuesday.

"It was really special," Sarah Deffenbaugh said. "They motivate me to be the best coach that I can be. They help me understand my athletes. So it was really special to share that with them. I know they were working pretty hard for it."

The 17-year coach has been a staple in the Kimball volleyball program. While in high school, she played for Kimball and was a member of the state tournament team in 1993. She became the Kimball head coach in 2002 and the Kimball/White Lake coach when the co-op started in 2013.

"That's been fun, too, because I have got the opportunity to kind of get to know two different communities and just the girls' camaraderie has been fun," Deffenbaugh said.

She guided Kimball to state tourney berths from 2005-08, while leading Kimball/White Lake to appearances in 2013 and 2014.

"Volleyball has been a big part of my life and it's been fun to be able to play for Kimball and also to coach for them, as well," Deffenbaugh said.