FORT WAYNE – A slow start and an unfriendly environment didn’t derail the Carroll volleyball team from another regional championship.
The Class 4A No. 16 Chargers got past host Homestead in four games, 17-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-22, Tuesday to win their fourth straight regional title.
We were just making everything more crisp and more precise and play how we know we can play, Carroll sophomore Jackie Quade said of winning the final three games. It was kind of like a reality check. It could have been the end of the season, so we knew we had to step it up and work hard.
The regional match was played at Homestead because of a scheduling conflict at Carroll that left the Chargers facing a boisterous Spartans’ faithful.
You have to beat a team no matter where you play, Carroll coach Doug Helsom said. Obviously we would have loved to play at home in front of a home crowd because we knew this crowd was going to be extremely energetic and extremely loud. But credit to our kids for figuring out how to control their emotion and take the crowd out of their heads.
We knew Game 1 was going to be a game of energy. We knew Homestead was going to come out extremely strong. Our discussion was about controlling emotion and controlling the game and do the best you can, but unfortunately we weren’t able to control the emotions enough, and it got the better of us.
Carroll (28-7) plays 4A top-ranked Carmel (35-1) in the Huntington North Semistate semifinals at 12:45 p.m. Saturday.
It never gets old, Helsom said of another regional title. These kids have worked so hard all season long, and they have worked hard to get to the postseason and play their best ball. Obviously we have a monumental task ahead of us. That’s why the game is played on the court and not on paper.
Quade led the Chargers with 22 kills, while sophomore Kate Novack had 23 assists and 10 digs, and sophomore Emma Ruskaup added 18 assists and 10 digs.
The Chargers beat the Spartans (24-8) in three games in the regular season, but that didn’t stop Carroll from finding itself in a hole after dropping the first game. Carroll won the second game easily and had to work hard to hold off Homestead in third and fourth games.
We were just telling each other we wanted to finish the game because we didn’t want to go to five (games), Quade said. Who knows what will happen there?
A slow start to the season didn’t stop the Chargers either from returning to a familiar postseason destination at the semistate. Not bad for a team that starts a senior, a junior and three sophomores.
This group obviously matured very, very quickly, Helsom said. Some of the growing pains we had at the beginning of the year and some of the games we lost big along the way were good learning, growing experiences that will hopefully translate into better play at this time of the year.