It didn’t matter that Hauser had just dropped the third and fourth sets after winning the first two in Saturday’s Class A semistate at Columbus East.
The Jets didn’t panic. They simply regrouped.
Hauser claimed the fifth set to pull out a 26-24, 25-19, 19-25, 18-25, 15-9 win against Barr-Reeve and advance to its first state volleyball final in school history.
“We got down with our energy a little bit, but we wanted it,” senior Sydney Schoen said. “We knew we had to work hard in order to get it, and we just had to pick each other up and play as a team again. Even though we had a few rough points, we needed to get out of it, work as a team and have high energy and just figure it out.”
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The Class A No. 2 Jets (35-4) will play No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic (29-5) for the state title at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ball State’s Worthen Arena in Muncie.
But it looked for awhile like Hauser might squander a two sets to none lead. The Vikings (23-14) led from start to finish in the third set and led most of the way in the fourth.
“We’re a team that we keep fighting, no matter what happens,” Hauser senior Sarah Tedder said. “We’re going to to keep pushing. Barr-Reeve is a great team. They played so hard, and to come back against them was incredibly hard, but I’m so proud of my team and how we played.”
After the Jets scored the first point of the fifth set, the Vikings took their only lead of the set at 2-1. Hauser then got a sideout, and Shelby Fugate scored three consecutive points to give the Jets the lead for good.
Barr-Reeve came back to within 5-4 and 7-6 before Hauser stretched the lead to 12-8. After a Vikings point cut it to 12-9, Schoen came up with back-to-back kills, and Taylor Henderson served an ace to end it.
“Barr-Reeve was playing great,” Schoen said. “They definitely pushed us, but we just knew if we could work hard and get the job done, we’d be fine.”
Hauser coach Jeff Case said the Jets got away from running their offense in the third and fourth sets, and that allowed Barr-Reeve more easy opportunities. He told the team it needed to pass the ball better.
Case also told the Jets to believe in themselves and the hard work they’ve put in.
“I feel like we may have lost our focus just a little bit,” senior setter Alana Owen said. “But we kept our composure and were able to come back and pull it off.”
The first set provided a hint of what was to come in terms of the competitiveness of the match. The set went back and forth, with the Vikings taking a 23-20 lead.
After a sideout, Owen served three straight points for a 24-23 lead. Barr-Reeve tied it, but Hauser got a sideout and then Tedder served the final point.
The Vikings led the second set 11-10 until the Jets got a sideout and Schoen served four consecutive points to put Hauser in control.
That set up Barr-Reeve’s comeback to even the match and the Jets’ victory in the fifth and deciding set.
“It just feels amazing,” Owen said. “It’s hard to describe the feeling. I’ve never felt this excited for anything before, and I’m just really proud of our team for keeping our composure and pushing through such a tough game.”
Schoen led Hauser with 16 kills and 41 digs. Owen recorded 41 assists, Hannah Johnson had seven blocks and Kylie Lock served four aces.
Madie Sherman pounded 13 kills and three blocks, while Tedder added six kills, 20 digs and three aces. Hannah Johnson and Henderson each had five kills, and Owen added four kills, two blocks, seven digs and two aces. Schoen notched four assists, Henderson had two blocks, Melanie Taylor tallied 14 digs, Lock added seven digs and Shelby Fugate served three aces.
“This is something that I’ve never experienced before,” Tedder said. “I’ve watched it, and now to be able to experience it and play for my team, for my community, for my family, it feels amazing. It’s a dream-come-true.”