That was the good news.
The bad news was that the sixth-ranked Fairfield Falcons were waiting for Wawasee in the championship contest. The Falcons played a nearly flawless match and upended the Lady Warriors 25-7, 25-10, and 25-7 to take home the sectional crown for the ninth straight year and the 10th time overall.
“We had one hitting error today, that’s phenomenal,” Falcon head coach Carla Herschberger said of her team’s very impressive stat line following the championship match. “I just think that we really came out and focused and that was our goal. We had played both of these teams (West Noble and Wawasee) already this year and knew that they could beat us if we did not bring it today.”
The Falcons started Saturday night’s title tilt out right jumping in front early with an 8-1 lead. Fairfield’s overall size and athleticism was something that Wawasee simply had no answer for. The Lady Warriors lone highlight of the first game came from an ace from senior captain Anne Beer.
In game two, Wawasee showed that they were not going too easily. The Lady Warriors kept in close with some nice blocks from the front line and good assists but could once again find no answer for Fairfield’s size. Fairfield would pull away and capture another decisive win, this time by a mark of 25-10.
It was more of the same for the hosts in game three. The Falcons raced out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back cruising to a sweep and a sectional title by a score of 25-7.
The Falcons improve to 32-1 on the season and will travel to Fort Wayne Tuesday night to play Concordia in regional action.“It does not matter what the score is, our girls continued to get up after every point and fight hard,” said Wawasee coach Jeff Phillips. “For our seniors, they can be satisfied and happy with what they accomplished this year and in what we’ve done these past two years.”
As for the underclassmen, there is more work to be done on the foundation that the class of 2013 has laid.
“If you’re a sophomore or junior, you are not allowed to be satisfied,” Phillips stated. “You can be happy about the season as a whole but now you should know what you have to do to win sectionals. We can start looking at winning a sectional title as a preseason goal now; two years ago that was a dream. Now that dream is reality and if they want to do that, they know who they have to play to do that.”
Anne Beer and Lydia Katsaropoulous each had five kills for Wawasee in the sectional finale. Aly Anderson had seven digs, Beer six and Alli Ousley five and eight assists.
Haley Brown led the way for Fairfield with 12 kills and four blocks. Riley Troyer had 39 assists and three aces and Raina Troyer had 12 digs.
Wawasee was able to hold off a Valley comeback attempt and win in five games by scores of 25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, and 15-13 to earn a berth in the finale.
Wawasee and Valley have a past with some wild volleyball games. In last year’s sectional meeting Wawasee took the first two games but it was the Lady Vikings that won the match after taking three straight from the Lady Warriors. Earlier this year the two squads met in Syracuse and again Wawasee went up two games only to lose the next three and drop the match.
On Saturday, it seemed as if it would be déjà vu all over again for the Lady Warriors. Wawasee took the first two games without missing a beat and looked to be on their way to a three game sweep. The Lady Vikings had other ideas and rallied to take games three and four from Wawasee to set up a winner-take-all game five showdown.
The decisive game lived up to the hype and the Lady Warriors avoided losing another heartbreaker to the Lady Vikings by pulling out a 15-13 victory. The season-ending loss dropped would leave Valley with a 12-14 mark for the 2012 campaign.
In regards to the win over Valley, coach Phillips made one thing very clear about what it meant for his seniors, “Nobody can ever take this away from them. Five or ten years from now they may not remember every play but they will always know that they were able to be part of a sectional victory.”
Katsaropoulous smashed 13 kills and Beer added 11 in the semifinal win. Ousley had 32 assists and six aces. Anderson led the team with 22 digs.
Wawasee closes out the season with a record of 19-15.