MUNCIE – Even decompressing after a tough loss in the Class 3A state championship match was difficult for Concordia on Saturday.
After the Cadets went down to Brebeuf 3-0 in three close games, 27-25, 26-24, 25-23, they had to wait for a few minutes afterward to get inside the teams locker room because of a lock malfunction at Ball States Worthen Arena.
Our kids put themselves in position in a state championship, but they just fell short, Concordia coach Trish Miller said. This is what it is about, you win or you lose. Its about that fight.
Entering the state match, the No. 7 Cadets (29-8) were coming off wins over No. 1 Mishawaka Marian and No. 3 New Prairie in last weeks Plymouth Semistate but could never get over the hump in the state finals against the underdog Braves.
Last week we knocked off Marian, but this week (the Braves) knocked us off, Miller said. You always have to be hungrier than the other team and be able to do that under pressure and with confidence in this kind of situation.
Brebeuf (20-12) is the first volleyball state champion with more than 10 losses and duplicated its 2003 three-game sweep of Concordia in the 3A state title match.
The Braves won their fourth state title, and their first since 2009. They were state runners-up to Bellmont in 2010.
The Cadets suffered their third loss in a state title match (1976, 2003 and 2013). Concordia also advanced to the state semifinals in 2004.
Just being at state was a blessing to all of us, Concordia senior TeAyla Whitfield said. Even though the outcome wasnt what we wanted, we all just should hold our heads up high.
They just had a little more momentum than we did and more toughness. We beat ourselves a little bit in this match.
Against Brebeuf, Concordia had late leads in all three games – 23-22 in Game 1, 22-18 in Game 2 and 21-20 in Game 3 – but could never find the closing speed.
The Cadets had two game points in the second game, 24-22 and 24-23, before the Braves closed the game out.
Somehow, somewhere, Brebeuf always came up with the necessary big point.
We had the opportunity, and we couldnt finish, Miller said. Neither team played their best out of the gate. We could never really get into our ballgame. Its frustrating.
The largest lead by either team in all three games was four points.
It definitely hurts because we wanted this so much, Concordia junior Tionna Williams said. We didnt play our A game, and we didnt play our best from the start. They definitely had the momentum, and I felt like we had to fight back a lot throughout the game. And when we had the lead, we let down a little bit, caught back up then we couldnt finish it.
The Cadets had 32 kills but also had 20 errors for an attack percentage of .103. Brebeuf was just a little better with 49 kills, 21 errors and a .215 attack percentage.
The Cadets had 10 hitting errors in the third game, while the Braves had eight, both match highs for each team.
Concordia had seven aces and six serve errors, while Brebeuf had only one ace and 11 serve errors.
Williams led the Cadets with 18 kills, while Rachel Kammeyer added 19 assists and four aces. Grace Miller had 24 digs.
Sierra Witham, who won the 3A mental attitude award, led the Braves with 22 kills. Courtney Simons added 11 kills, and McKena Estes had 28 assists.