MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve Vikings are back at semi-state.
Barr-Reeve (35-2) will take on Bloomfield (19-11) in the second game of the four-team Class A volleyball semistate Saturday afternoon at Jack Butcher Arena in Loogootee. Indianapolis Lutheran and Christian Academy will play in the first match of the semi-state at 11 a.m. with Barr-Reeve-Bloomfield to follow.
It’s been three years since Barr-Reeve’s last semistate trip — an eternity for the town of Montgomery. In 2010, the Vikings dropped a five set heartbreaker to eventual Class A state runner-up to Indianapolis Lutheran in the semi-state championship game at North Daviess. The short trip to Loogootee for the possibility of two matches Saturday gives the Vikings a familiarity with the venue, which could help eliminate any pre-match nervousness.
“It’s just seven miles away and the fans don’t have to travel far,” said Barr-Reeve coach Amber DeCoursey. “We are looking for a big crowd to try and get the girls fired up and ready to go.”
Barr-Reeve defeated Bloomfield 3-0 in the second match of the season back on Aug. 22 at Kavanaugh Kourt. DeCoursey said the Vikings will need to watch for Bloomfield senior Tiffany Lachance, the Cardinals’ best player. Lachance had 31 kills, 25 digs, 6 aces and 1 block in Bloomfield’s five set regional championship victory over Indiana School for the Deaf Tuesday night.
“We know that they are playing better and they have a pretty big middle and two good players on the outside,” DeCoursey said. “The girl in the middle — (Tiffany) Lachance — she’s their go-to player, the one who keeps them together on the floor.”
Barr-Reeve has been able to break through this season to come within three victories of program’s first Class A state championship with the help of leadership from senior’s Jenna Knepp, Hania Sisco, Tracy Graber and Allison Hoover. DeCoursey said the four girls have been key to this seasons run of 35 wins in 37 matches as they have learned from past experiences in the state tournament.
“I can’t say enough about Jenna (Knepp), Tracy (Graber), Hania (Sisco) and Allison (Hoover) — their leadership this year has just been tremendous,” DeCoursey said. “When they were freshman they were all part of that semistate team and that’s the last time we have won a sectional or have an opportunity to play in a semi-state. Some of our goals this season was to get back to this position and have another go at it.”
In Tuesday’s regional championship win, the Vikings won a close first set, 25-23 before rolling past Tecumseh in the next two sets — 25-16 and 25-14. Knepp had a game-high 34 assists. Sisco had 12 kills, Tiara Kenney had 9 and Graber added 7. DeCoursey thought her team needed to focus in on the defensive errors and mental mistakes that plauged the Vikings in that first set.
“We have been working on things in practice as far as playing smart and quick movement on defense — we’re hoping to see an improvement in that area in the match against Bloomfield,” DeCoursey said. “When we hit this point in the season we need to put everything together that we’ve done all year. It comes back to a little saying we have — ‘we need to keep doing what we’re doing and do it well’ — we’re not going to try to do anything different from what got us to this point.”