When the Indiana High School Athletic Association announced the pairings for Class 4A Sectional 2, the Valparaiso Vikings knew it would not be an easy task to repeat as sectional champions. Three hard fought matches later, the sectional culminated with the Vikings celebrating on their home floor and clinching a berth in the regional.
“We’re totally pumped because a lot of people didn’t think we would be coming out of this sectional,” Valparaiso head coach Katie Lenard said. “They didn’t think we had it in us. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this season, but this is the team that I knew would be able to do this.”
Valparaiso upstaged the top ranked La Porte Slicers in the opening round on Thursday night in five games and knocked off Crown Point on Saturday afternoon in five to reach Saturday night’s championship match against Michigan City. After the Wolves took the first game 25-23, The Vikings rapped off three straight victories (25-17, 25-20, 25-11) to secure the match. A dominant fourth game against Michigan City provided the exclamation point on a great sectional run.
“I said to them, let’s try something different here and get it done in four,” Lenard said. “We pushed for every single point.”
Valparaiso fans filled the stands and showed tremendous support for the volleyball squad throughout the week. Lenard said that hosting the sectional played in the Vikings’ favor.
“Everyone was so pumped up; their arms were waving; it was awesome to be able to have it here,” she said.
In the sectional final against Michigan City, solid blocking helped lift the Vikings to victory. Tarrah Laskey recorded a block for the final point of the match. Noelle Eveland led the way with 12 kills, while senior Madison Olsen chipped in with nine kills and three blocks.
“We talked about a couple of different ways to address the block and it worked really well for us,” Lenard said. “It was different people; it wasn’t the same people getting the blocks.”
The Vikings will remain on their home court for a battle with Lake Central on Tuesday night in the regional. The Indians won 3-2 in the last regular season match between the two schools.
“I expect [Lake Central] to play awesome,” Lenard said. “The last time we played them we had a five game match and ended up losing, so it’s a matter of trying to get revenge on them.”
ValpoLife.com provided full coverage of the lady-Vikings sectional championship run. Click here for a full photo gallery from Saturday's championship, follow this link to view photos from the semifinals against Crown Point or check out the gallery from Thursday's opener against La Porte by clicking here.