LOOGOOTEE— Volleyball is often a game filled with terms describing violent acts.
There are kills, digs, spikes. Sounds aggressive.
But if that is the leather of volleyball, there’s also space for some lace, or grace.
No. 3 Loogootee set a new school record for wins (34) in a single season by defeating No. 4 Trinity Lutheran for the semistate championship at Jack Butcher Arena Saturday.
The Lions won the championship in three sets, 25-17, 25-15. 25-15, to advance to this Saturday’s 11 a.m. state championship at Ball State’s Worthen Arena against No. 10 Cowan.
The Lions weren’t lacking for leather. Michala Beasley, Christina Ziegler, Abby Ackerman and Taylor Hayes made sure there were plenty of those violent spikes and kills.
But the lace was best shown with the Lions leading by two sets and pulling away in the third at 20-13 when Beasley displayed a touch of grace.
Beasley had been quite a kill killer on both sides of the net throughout the match.
Whether it was with a defensive block, or an offensive point, the 6-1 Loogootee junior helped the Lions control the thin sliver of netting separating the two state-ranked teams.
Demi Richardson, the Lion career assist leader with3,180, placed the ball perfectly, hovering just above the twines.
But instead of another kill, Beasley this time just tipped the ball over the Cougar defense, watching as it fell so softly to the floor.
It was the way the match went for the majority of the night, as the Lions overturned last fall’s semistate final loss to the Cougars on the same floor.
“We played a lot of the match at the net,” Wade said. “We really did. The passes, for the most part, got the ball to where we needed it. With he way the game is played today, you just can’t make a lot of mistakes, and the girls didn’t. They made the pass where we needed it, and then the girls put it down.”
That touch point was set by Richardson, who has been a key ingredient of the Lions’ success.
“She’s the setter,” Wade said. “She’s in charge of everything that happens on that court. But this team has played very much as a team. They are very close.”
“Our back row we had to rebuild this year, and we had to come out this year and the kids really caught on,” Wade said. “We lost our liberro (Lauren Bowling with a thumb injury), and the girls that have had to have stepped in and keep getting better and better as they’ve played.”
Loogootee led 15-14 before pulling away in the opening set. The Lions broke open an 8-1 lead in the second and then scored 13 of the final 17 points to put the match away in the third.
“If we can get leads, it’s nice,” Wade said. “But let me tell you, teams come back on us, and we have to get refocused.”
The game was a rematch of a season-ending three-set win by Loogootee at Trinity.
Wade believes ending with the Cougars is a good way to prepare for the tournament.
“We played them (Trinity) at the end of the season,” Wade said. “That really helped us find where we were as a team, and where we were with them. Last year we kind of questioned whether playing Trinity that late was a good thing for us, but I feel that having good, hard competition just before tournament time really helps us for the tournament. No matter when you play it’s going to be a good match.”
Loogootee, Trinity advance to finals
By Dennis Glade
LOOGOOTEE — Loogootee and Trinity Lutheran advanced from the opening round of Saturday’s Class A volleyball semistate.
Hauser started quickly against Trinity Lutheran by jumping out to a 9-4 lead in the first set. The Cougars (33-4) answered with a 15-all tie, before Lutheran won 25-21. The Jets (27-9) once again got off to a fast start in the second set, leading 5-2, but Trinity Lutheran stormed back scoring 12 of the next 15 points on the way to a 25-14 second set victory.
In the third set, Hauser led 9-5, before the Cougars won the set 25-13.
Host Loogootee wasted little time getting into a groove as they dominated Indiana School for the Deaf in the first set, 25-11. Indiana Deaf bounced back in the second set as the two teams split the first 24 points, before Loogootee made a run, scoring 13 of the next 19 points to cruise to a 25-18 final.
In the third set, the Lions put the Orioles away with another 25-18 victory.