The Tigers, in the midst of an outstanding season at 25-5, will need to beat three quality opponents to claim the hardware in the Class 4-A Northridge Sectional.
The IHSAA drew its postseason pairings for the 41st annual tournament on Monday morning in Indianapolis. Sectional play begins next week with championship matches scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20. One-match regionals are Tuesday, Oct. 23 with semi states Oct. 27 and the four State Finals matches on Nov. 3 at Ball State University.
There are 402 teams statewide entered in this year’s tournament, the first time since 1984 that there have been more than 400.
Warsaw, whose last sectional title came in 2004, will meet Concord (15-15) in the opener at Northridge on Oct. 18. The Tigers just beat Concord 3-0 Thursday to claim the outright NLC title at 7-0. With a win, Warsaw would face the winner of the Elkhart Memorial-Goshen match in the semifinals. Northridge (20-7) plays Elkhart Central, which features Purdue recruit Azariah Stahl, in the semifinal bye match. Stahl, an explosive outside hitter, is just a junior.
The Tigers are 4-0 versus the sectional field, including a 3-2 win at Memorial early in the season to snap the Crimson Chargers’ 76-match win streak in conference play. The Crimson Chargers, who are 16-16, have won five straight sectional titles.
Wawasee received a most favorable draw in the Class 3-A Fairfield Sectional. The Warriors, who are 17-14 on the season, drew a bye and face Tippecanoe Valley in a semifinal match on Saturday, Oct. 20. No. 6 Fairfield (25-1), which has won eight straight sectional titles, meets No. 10 NorthWood (22-5) in a first-round match at Fairfield. The last sectional title for Wawasee came in 1995.
Tippecanoe Valley rallied to edge Wawasee 3-2 in a regular-season match in Syracuse in August. The Vikings won the final three sets of the contest, including a 19-17 final in the fifth game.
Whitko, Triton and Lakeland Christian Academy all drew first-round sectional assignments. Whitko faces Heritage in the Class 3-A Norwell Sectional, while Triton plays South Central in the opener of the seven-team Class 1-A Culver Sectional and LCA meets host Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian in the opener of the eight-team Class 1-A there.
Triton last won sectional championship in 2002. Whitko and Tippecanoe Valley have never won a volleyball sectional title and this is the first state tournament for LCA as a member of the IHSAA.
At Northridge (Class 4-A)
In Northridge Middle School varsity gym.
6:00: Warsaw vs. Concord; 7:30: Goshen vs. Elkhart Memorial
11 a.m.: Thursday winners: 12:30: Northridge vs. Elkhart Central
At Fairfield (Class 3-A)
6:00: West Noble vs. Lakeland; 7:30: NorthWood vs. Fairfield
11 a.m.: Thursday winners; 12:30: Tippecanoe Valley vs. Wawasee
At Norwell (Class 3-A)
6:00: Eastbrook vs. Mississenewa; 7:30: Whitko vs. Heritage
10 a.m.: Thursday winners; 11:30: Norwell vs. Bellmont
At Culver (Class 1-A)
6:30: Triton vs. South Central
6:30: Marquette vs. Culver; 8:00: Oregon-Davis vs. Westville; 8:00
10:30 a.m.: Argos vs. Tuesday winner; 12:00: Thursday winners
At FW Blackhawk Christian (Class 1-A)
6:00: Lakeland Christian Academy vs. FW Blackhawk Christian; 7:30: FW Canterbury vs. Howe
6:00: Elkhart Christian vs. Lakewood Park Christian; 7:30: Bethany Christian vs. Hamilton
11 a.m.: Tuesday winners; 12:30: Thursday winners