Talk about soldiering on and fighting the good fight.

In the late fall of 1992, there coach Becky Lipasek was, leaving the lonely gym of El Dorado Springs High School with her volleyball program having won a combined 15 games in her first three seasons. Quit? No way.

“I have a survivor’s mentality,” Lipasek said. “I felt like I was on the right track. We were able to put in an intramural program, which would help start to turn it around.”

Lipasek soon transformed El Dorado Springs into a power and later boosted the fortunes of Reeds Spring and Branson high schools, too. Overall, her body of work is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted Lipasek with the Class of 2019.

A former volleyball standout at Mountain Grove High School and Missouri Valley College, Lipasek has coached for 29 seasons, 27 in Missouri (1990 to 2016). In the Show-Me State, she was 577-236-44 combined and guided her first two programs to a combined six Final Fours.

Lipasek’s 1999 and 2005 El Dorado Springs teams won Class 2 state championships, while her 1998 and 2000 teams placed second. Her 2006 and 2007 Reeds Spring teams placed third in Class 3. She then coached three seasons in Branson, which ended a seven-year drought by winning a Class 4 district game.

Seven El Dorado Springs teams and four at Reeds Spring won district titles. Overall, she produced 24 All-State selections. Simply put – patience paid off.

“I decided to stick it out (in the early 1990s) and added to the program by getting kids interested in it,” said Lipasek, whose intramural program focused on fifth- and sixth-graders. “A lot of kids in small schools don’t have club volleyball (in town).”

Other challenges existed. In her 16 seasons at El Dorado Springs (1990-2005), the school wasn’t affiliated with any conference, meaning Lipasek couldn’t sell the sport on all-conference selections or conference titles. Scheduling large schools also was a challenge.

Yet the feeder program helped overcome those roadblocks. The 1995 season marked Lipasek’s first winning year, while the 1996 team won the program’s first district title.

Then came another boost. The state re-classified El Dorado Springs down to Class 2 in 1998.

“When we were dropped to Class 2, I thought, ‘This team can make some noise,’” Lipasek said. “I thought, ‘This could be really special.”

The 1998 Final Four team advanced thanks, in part, to a sectional upset of Pembroke Hill, a private Kansas City school. El Dorado Springs finished as the state runner-up, barely losing to East Newton 15-13 in the third set. The team included four-year starters Stasia Ehlers and Louisa Budd.

“The returning players were on a mission in 1999,” Lipasek said. “It was just a team you did not want to have to play.”

The 1999 state title team beat tradition-rich Hermann and finished 35-1-3. Those Lady Bulldogs featured seniors Stephanie Busbey, Kim Eck, Ty Thoreson and Ashley Heitz.

El Dorado Springs earned a state runner-up in 2000, despite having graduated four core players the prior May but was led by Ashley Bland. Sectional appearances came in 2003 and 2004.

The 2005 team captured El Dorado Springs’ second state title as Lipasek’s daughter, Kinsey Palmer, Tabetha Esry and a deep bench keyed a 33-3-1 season.

However, Lipasek relocated to Reeds Spring High School afterward for better proximity to Springfield-area club volleyball for her two youngest daughters, Kyleigh and Kellyn.

She coached there from 2006 to 2013. Four sophomores and a deep roster led the way to the 2006 Final Four, a journey that included Reeds Spring earning a three-way tie for the Central Ozark Conference title. The next year, the Wolves won the COC outright and returned to the Final Four.

From there, Lipasek coached Branson three seasons and spent 2017 and 2018 at Riverton (Kan.) High School, earning a 64 wins. She also coached Springfield club volleyball eight seasons, guiding five teams to nationals, and is co-director of THR33 Volleyball.

As a player, she helped Mountain Grove to two state tournament trips – it placed fourth her junior and senior years – and was an all-conference setter at Missouri Valley, where she found her calling.

Lipasek had been positively influenced by junior high coach Betty Blevins and high school coaches Stephanie Miller, Barbara Ice and Tom Hutchison.

“I want players to experience what I experienced,” Lipasek said. “Volleyball was always that outlet I could go to. It’s just been that place that has kept me together.”