Barr-Reeve had the momentum going into the fifth set of Saturday’s Class A semistate volleyball match at Columbus East.
Hauser, on the other hand, had the experience.
While the Vikings were led by three freshmen and a sophomore, the Jets have been led all season by a quartet of seniors. That seasoning paid off big-time in the fifth set, when they bounced back from losses in sets 3 and 4 to take the final set 15-9.
“They have some really good freshmen over there (at Barr-Reeve), and they’re going to be a good team for a long time,” Hauser coach Jeff Case said. “They’re an amazing program, but we were able to stay calm and handle the intense situations.”
It certainly wasn’t easy. The Vikings seemed to be digging everything in sight, frustrating Jets hitters whose efforts would have resulted in kills against just about anybody else on their schedule.
But Hauser is a resilient bunch. Led by seniors Sydney Schoen, Sarah Tedder, Alana Owen and Madie Sherman, the Jets persevered.
“I didn’t think we were going to be able to pull it out, and then we joined together and we talked it all out,” Sherman said. “We bonded together, and we used all of our energy together and Jeff gave us a good talk and that pumped us up a lot.”
Schoen, an Eastern Kentucky recruit, is a four-year starter. Tedder and Owen are three-year starters, and Sherman is in her second year as a starter.
They had plenty of help from others, including a fifth senior, Megan Swinford. Freshman Hannah Johnson and junior Taylor Henderson came up big at the net, and Henderson served an ace on match point. Sophomores Kylie Lock, Melanie Taylor and Shelby Fugate were money in the back row and at the serving line.
As a result, Hauser is headed to its first state finals in volleyball. The Class A No. 2 Jets will play No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
Hauser will try to join the 2006 boys basketball team and the 2015 softball squad as state champions.
“It’s just amazing,” Schoen said. “We’ve worked so hard all season, and we knew that we had a chance to go to state, and we took it and ran with it. It’s a great feeling.”
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-379-5628.