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Volleyball: Noll makes surprise run to semistate title

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Updated: December 4, 2013 6:53AM



BREMEN — Bishop Noll may have pulled off two upsets, beating favored Madison-Grant and Woodlan to capture the Class 2A Bremen Semistate title.

But don’t tell that to second-year coach David Rodriguez.

“I had the girls in Muncie (the site of the state finals) in my brackets” coach David Rrodriguez. “I filled out my bracket at the beginning of this thing, and I had my team in the finals.”

And the Warriors fulfilled his prediction Saturday night in the semistate final, winning an intense fifth game 15-point shootout, 15-7, after coming back from down 2-1. The Warriors did it with an amazing 25-19 comeback in Game 4 that starred sophomore Delaney Soto, who had only served twice before as a varsity member this season, yet who may have had two of the biggest service series in Noll history Saturday.

Rodriguez did a masterful job coaching. And he credited his four seniors, Elena Sobilo, Caitlyn Edinger, Asya Hobbs and Carissa Jones, for their leadership.

“The seniors really took it upon themselves to get this team to where we are now,” Rodriguez said. “We did a huge amount of conditioning in the summer, and throughout the season.”

And he believes that conditioning allowed his team to battle out of that 2-1 deficit in the finals.

“I had faith in the girls to do this. We had lost two sets, it didn’t stop us from coming back,” he said. “I have always believed in them, and I wanted them to believe, to have confidence in themselves.”

Jones and Hobbs, in particular, had key roles in the final two games. Jones was a force on the front line, especially at key times in the middle of both of those games.

When the Warriors needed a save, or a vicious kill, Jones seemed to never miss.

Did she worry when Rodriguez put Soto on the service line?

“I was excited, I knew she could do it, even though she is a sophomore,” Jones said. “She really stepped up, she did it in practice, and did it on the floor.”

Soto said the same thing: “I was excited. When we scored, I didn’t know what to do.”

Her coach had put her at the line with his team ahead 21-19 in the fourth set. Jones, who had been on fire for the last 15-20 minutes helped her out with a unique backhand kill. After that, Noll pushed the lead to 22-19, then Woodlan misjudged a Soto serve to make it 24-19. Finally, her last serve barely rolled over the net, clinching the win.

In the final game, Hobbs and powerhouse front-liner Carly Cappello couldn’t be denied. Soto, Brittany Anderson and Jones got the Warriors to 3-1, and Jones fired two aces to make it 5-1. Hobbs made a big save, and Cappello followed with a roundhouse kill, and Noll went up 7-2.

Cappello took charge, hammering home assists three times while she was at the service line. Amber Williams had a block kill and Cappello another ace. It was 10-5. Woodlan added a couple more points, before Cappello rammed home another kill.

Then, suddenly, with another point it was over.

The absolutely out-their-minds Warriors team and their fans were celebrating a semistate championship. The final line, 21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 15-7.

Noll heads to the state final at 30-9, Woodlan finishes at 26-7.



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