Girls volleyball: Griffith makes it two straight sectional titles
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent October 20, 2012 11:38PM
Updated: November 22, 2012 6:56AM
GRIFFITH — The sectional trophy isn’t going to leave Griffith’s clutches after all.
The Panthers pulled off the unlikely feat, beating Class 3A Griffith Sectional favorite Gavit in the sectional semifinal Saturday afternoon, then knocked out undermanned Hammond in the final, 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 26-24), for their second straight sectional crown and fifth title in school history.
Griffith (12-20) had never won back-to-back sectional titles before accomplishing the feat Saturday night.
“This feels real good right now being able to come in and defend our sectional title,” said junior outside hitter Lisette Roldan, who finished with a match-high 11 kills. “We came out with so much intensity and passion (against Gavit). We went out and played like it was our last game and we didn’t come out as a team but more like a family which was different from the other two times against them.”
The Gladiators, who were the only team with a winning record, defeated Griffith in two regular-season contests. But the Panthers’ intensity and focus — and Roldan’s right arm — proved to be too much in the semifinal match.
The Panthers (12-20), however, didn’t come out with that same focus and drive in the championship match and it almost cost them a chance at history.
“It was an emotional letdown,” first-year coach Erin Delaney said. “We competed against Hammond earlier in the season and went four with them. It’s not what I expected tonight. They know I have higher expectations of them.”
Still, Griffith did put the Wildcats (6-13) away in three games. It could have gone four. Hammond led 24-22 before the Panthers went on a 4-0 run to close it out.
Wildcats coach Mary Hernandez, who played for coach Delaney at Calumet College, said she was proud of her team’s fight considering only seven girls showed up to play on Saturday.
“The girls tried and went down fighting,” she said. “We have nine players on the roster and only seven showed up. I’m proud of the girls who came out. They’re upset right now but they’ll grow from this.”
Sophomore setter Rhiannon Kozy recorded 22 assists and seven aces for Griffith, while Melissa Martinez added 10 digs.