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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Concordia coach Trish Miller, left, calls a play to DeJour Young in the first set of Saturday’s Class 3A state championship volleyball match at Ball State. The Cadets lost in three games.

Ready to get back on court

Concordia brings back most of team

– It’s pretty much against the rules, but Concordia volleyball coach Trish Miller is ready to keep the season going despite a 3-0 loss to Brebeuf in the Class 3A state championship match Saturday at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.

“I am ready to go back and practice Monday and try to figure out how we can get better,” Miller said soon after the tough loss. “There’s always bumps in the road, but it is what you can do after. Hopefully we will. I have great kids, and that’s our plan.”

Miller knows more practices aren’t possible, but what went wrong mentally was still fresh in her mind after Concordia fell in three games, 27-25, 26-24, 25-23.

The Cadets had leads in each of the games.

“We had a pep session on Friday for our football and volleyball teams,” Miller said. “What they tried to tell the kids was, ‘Are we hungry?’ The football team got a great victory (Friday), but we fell short. The lesson there is you have to always be on your ‘A’ game.”

Seventh-ranked Concordia (29-8) earned their third trip to the state final with wins over No. 1 Mishawaka Marian and No. 3 New Prairie in the semistate.

But instead of celebrating the school’s first volleyball state title Saturday, the No. 9 Braves earned their fourth state championship.

Brebeuf (20-12) became the first volleyball team to win a state title with more than 10 losses.

The Cadets, though, immediately turned their attention toward next season when they will have lost only two seniors, Te’Ayla Whitfield and Elizabeth Cage.

“The faith in that we can even be at a state championship, and hard work really does pay off because it got us here,” Whitfield said of the lessons learned by the underclassmen.

SAC tournament and regular-season champ Concordia will return 5 of 6 starters in juniors Tionna Williams, Dejour Young, Erica Shively and Rachel Kammeyer, and freshman Abigail Oetting, plus junior libero Grace Miller and sophomore Kara Bowersox.

The talent and the potential will be there with Williams (544 kills), Shively (304 kills) and Young (224 kills) all coming back.

“We will use it as incentive for next year,” Williams said. “We are not going away any time soon. We will be back.

“We definitely want to use it to make ourselves better and use it to our advantage.”

But in the immediate future, three of the volleyball players will make the conversion to the basketball season with Kammeyer, Young and Shively also playing for Dave Miller’s program.

Dave Miller said before the match that because of the volleyball team’s success, his first two games against Bellmont on Tuesday and New Haven on Saturday have been moved to later in the season.

The three basketball/volleyball players will have their own choice when to join the team but must get in five practices to be eligible for the first hoops game.

Concordia opens the regular season now at East Noble on Nov. 19.