The Washington Times-Herald

November 8, 2013

Volleyball the Viking way

BY Staff Reports Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — MONTGOMERY — Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, which essentially opened the door the female team sports across the United States, there can’t be many more stories of a successful program than the Barr-Reeve volleyball team.

Since their initial season, the Vikings now boast 41 consecutive winning seasons, 23 Blue Chip Conference titles, 19 sectional trophies, eight regional crowns, and now a fifth trip to the State Finals.

Along the way there has also been substantial individual talent pass through the halls of Barr-Reeve. Two of the best Lady Vikings of all time met earlier this fall as opponents. Purdue senior Hilliary Fox, and current Western Kentucky assistant coach Kristi (Kavanaugh) Griffin squared off in a contest that pitted the 21st ranked Hillltoppers against the 16th ranked Boilermakers. Western Kentucky prevailed in a five set marathon that night, but proved that the small high school in Montgomery can produce big time talent.

Griffin grew up in the wildly successful Kavavaugh sports family. Uncle Albert is credited with implementing the Barr-Reeve basketball program, while Uncle Lee Kavanaugh did the same at Loogootee. Her father Dave, is a highly respected basketball and volleyball official, and has worked multiple state finals in each sport.

While at B-R, Griffin led the Lady Vikings to their first volleyball state finals appearance in 1998, and then starred at University of Southern Indiana. Griffin has now made three coaching stops, first at USI, then Jacksonville State, and now in her fifth season at Western Kentucky where the Lady Toppers have made multiple NCAA tournament appearances.

Fox is now in the middle of her senior season and her third as a starter for coach Dave Shondell. While at Purdue, the Boilers have advanced to two Sweet 16’s, and have made an Elite Eight appearance also.

Known for her dominating net performances in high school, and boasting a touch of 10’2 (a basketball rim is ten feet high), Fox has instead became an elite defensive player in the Big Ten.

The Purdue senior, who led the Lady Vikings to back to back state finals appearances during the 2008-09, 2009-10 seasons has also played a role in the success of this year’s Viking squad. Barr-Reeve regularly attends the Purdue team camp, and this year Fox served as one of the team’s camp coaches. The Vikings knocked off a string of 4A schools during teams play, and showed Fox that this year’s team could be special. “I loved having our girls come to camp and getting the chance to be a part of their improvement. It was great to see my school grow.”

Although both successful volleyball players from the small school in Montgomery, Fox may be following a slightly different career path - one that will take her to grad school.

“I hope to move forward with the dentistry process. That’s the plan, and I’ve learned to always have a plan in whatever you do.”

Although their years as standout Viking volleyball players are now just a memory, you can bet that the next round of Viking standouts will be sitting among the elementary and junior high girls on Saturday in Muncie. The next Kristi Kavanaugh or Hilliary Fox might be dreaming about the trip they will make to the State Finals.