MUNCIE — Anyone who saw Hauser play in the volleyball regional and semistate had to have the feeling the Jets were primed for a comeback after falling behind Lafayette Central Catholic two sets to none on Saturday.
After all, Hauser had rallied from a two sets to one deficit to pull out a five-set win against Indianapolis Lutheran in the regional semifinals. Then, after sweeping Indianapolis Tindley in the regional final, the Jets lost a two sets to none lead against Barr-Reeve, but then regrouped en route to a five-set win.
But this time, there was no magic. The Class A state championship wouldn’t reach a fifth set.
The top-ranked Knights, after surviving a set-point in the opening set, won the second and third to end Hauser’s dream of winning a state title.
“It was a really great season,” said Hauser senior Sydney Schoen. “Just making it this far, no team in Hauser history for volleyball has ever made it to the state finals, so it’s such a great feeling just to be a part of that. Even though we didn’t win, we still made it here, and unfortunately just couldn’t pull off a win.”
Schoen, who is headed to Eastern Kentucky next year, claimed the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award. She led the Jets to their best season in school history, a 35-5 record that included Mid-Hoosier Conference, sectional, regional and semistate titles.
Hauser ran into a team that was making its fourth state finals appearance in the past eight years and the third in the past five. The Jets broke through and made it for the first time.
“We still got here,” senior Sarah Tedder said. “We’re the first Hauser team to ever do this, and I am so proud of us. I couldn’t be more happy with how we ended our season.”
Losing Schoen and Tedder will be big for Hauser, as will be losing setter Alana Owen and middle hitter Madie Sherman, who led the Jets in kills and blocks on Saturday. A fifth senior, Megan Swinford, provided stability in the back row.
Next year, Hauser will build around current junior outside hitter Taylor Henderson and freshman middle hitter Hannah Johnson, as well as sophomore back-row players Kylie Lock, Melanie Taylor and Shelby Fugate. Freshman Aunaka Wasil was the backup setter and could be called upon to replace Owen.
But make no mistake, the Jets will miss these five seniors.
“The seniors were awesome, great leaders,” Hauser coach Jeff Case said. “They really took the program to new heights. It was a great season and a great story for this team. It’s been fun. I told them if we said this is where we’re going to be at the beginning of the year, we’d have been thrilled about it.”