The Washington Times-Herald

Local Sports

October 22, 2013

Lions' senior class reaches for volleyball history

LOOGOOTEE — The volleyball program at Loogootee is one of the best in southwestern Indiana, steeped in tradition, but this year it will attempt to reach a new milestone — the Class A State Championship.

Class A No. 4 Loogootee (28-5) closed out its regular season with a victory on Senior Night at Jack Butcher Arena  against Trinity Lutheran and said goodbye to a truly special class of Demi Richardson, Kelsy Seals, Taylor Hayes, Michala Beasley, Christina Ziegler and Abby Ackerman. The class has dominated opponents while setting records across the board.

In the past four years, Loogootee has compiled a record of 120-21 with a Final Four appearance two years ago as sophomores and a state runner-up finish a year ago to Cowan. Loogootee saw former player Lacey Wade take the program to the cusp of a state championship in the past two years, but her father, Doug Denson, took over coaching duties this season — a position he previously held from 1995-2000.

"You have two six-footers (Ziegler and Beasley) who play volleyball and that's big advantage on any team especially if they play as much volleyball as our two do," Denson said. "I have a four-year starter (Richardson) as a setter. My three best hitters (Beasley, Ziegler and Ackerman) have all played varsity since their freshman year. It's just a dedication to the sport, I'd say."

If the Lions are to win the school's first Class A state championship, Denson would surely be the coach to lead them there. In six seasons under Denson, the Lions went 103-54 with five sectional championships and the program's first regional championship in 1997. Loogootee won its first sectional championship in 1982 and its second in 1991, but the program really got going when Denson came aboard. Since 1995, the Lions have captured 11 sectional titles.

"We decided we wanted to do something different with the girls and we had played a lot of volleyball and understood the sport," Denson said. "It was just a matter of getting the girls to buy into the system and sometimes winning breeds success. I think once we got a little bit of a run going, more girls wanted to play volleyball."

Starting with the 27-5 mark during the current senior class' freshman year the win total has gone up each season as the girls have continued to grown and hone their individual skills. Along the way records started to fall. Richardson is first all-time in serving points and she has over 4,000 assists. Beasley (2nd), Ziegler (3rd) and Ackerman (5th) all find themselves in the top five for most kills for a career.

"Demi (Richardson) works hard every day," Denson said. "She's the hardest working girl in practice — I asked her one day where she finds the energy to go as hard as she does and one day she said she finally figured it out was from God. She's a real religious girl and that's her inspiration. She is one hard working kid, I always said she's had some great hitters around her, but she is definitely the hardest working kid on this team.

Beasley and Ziegler — it's obvious — they're six feet tall. Beasley started when she was so young and was very competitive while playing a lot of club ball since she's been a little girl. Ziegler is more just raw talent. Her and Ackerman are just good athletes, who became great volleyball players.

"I always say Beasley wants to know all the technical things, but Ziegler and Ackerman just fly by the seat of their pants. Taylor Seals brings energy and speed than we have in other places. She is one of the kids that tries hard every day and works at it. Last year when Kelsy Seals blew out her knee — she has never really recovered from that injury. She comes to practice every day with a great attitude, but that knee doesn't allow her to move left to right as well as she would like to. We still use her because she blocks well and has good hands."

Loogootee has a chance to win its third consecutive regional championship for the first time since 2005-2007, but when asked where this current group ranks he wasn't sure if he could quantify that just yet. The postseason begins next week with the sectional at Jack Butcher Arena.

"Depending of the outcome of the next two or three weeks, I guess that will tell more of the story," Denson said. "It has already been successful — we knocked off the No. 1 team twice in sectional — one time undefeated. You're going to think that's a big success for you."

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • SPT-WT-073014-ANDREW LUCK PIC Luck still learning in Year 3 ANDERSON — Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University.During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.The Indianapolis Colts quar

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports Briefs Par 3 Tournament ResultsMike and Ellen McKittrich were the first place gross winners of the Par 3 Tournament Sunday at Washington Country Club with a 54. Mark Smith-Susan Chambers and Nate and Blythe Wildridge followed with a 55. Pat and Joanne Bahr

    July 30, 2014

  • Blu-chip 3 pic Blu-Chip takes over Complex The Washington Sports Complex played host to the 3rd Annual Blu-Chip 3v3 tournament, which is in memory of Zach Blubaum and Derek Arvin. The tourney was the largest of the three that have been played and helps to raise funds for the Derek Arvin Schol

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.Sometimes it could be as simple as a C-note handshake or a little cash slipped into a player’s socks outside his locker with a note telling him to

    July 25, 2014

  • Blu Chip ready for its third year Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but of course, that isn’t the case. Some tragedies are so severe that the healing process might never be complete, but rather a daily reminder of what has been lost. Whether it is a bumper sticker on a car, a funn

    July 25, 2014

  • Colts' 'monster' now preparing to 'hunt' ANDERSON — There’s a different kind of buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to report for training camp today at Anderson University.Expectations have been high inside the locker room since Chuck Pagano arrived in January 2012 and

    July 23, 2014

  • Sports Briefs WHS PhysicalsWashington High School athletic office would like to announce Physical Examinations for athletes will be held at Dr. Cullen’s office on Tuesday July 29, 9 am to 3 pm. All Washington athletes may use this service including High School, Ju

    July 23, 2014

  • SPT-WT-071914-ADAM GRABER PIC Barr-Reeve hands out Spring Awards MONTGOMERY — After the Fall and Winter sports seasons included a team reaching the state championship, Barr-Reeve’s final sport season had some catching up to do. Spring didn’t result in any state championship apperances, but it did see the Vikings c

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season There’s plenty to enjoy about the Southeastern Conference’s annual cattle call in Hoover, Ala., where media of every description join players and coaches from each of the league’s 14 football teams to discuss the coming season. The best aspect is tha

    July 18, 2014

  • MadiWebster Webster to compete at Gymnastics Championships LOUISVILLE — More than 1,600 of the nation’s top gymnasts in acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline/tumbling will be in Louisville, this week for the 2014 USA Gymnastics Championships. Madi Webster of Odon, who just placed third in

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo