Noll, which fell one short of volleyball state title, pleased with season
BY RYAN HASKELL Post-Tribune correspondent November 10, 2013 10:18PM
Bishop Noll's Asya Hobbs and Carissa Jones block a shot by Providence's Taylor Wilson at Worthen Arena in Muncie, IN on November 9, 2013. | Jim Karczewski\Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 12, 2013 6:30AM
MUNCIE — Bishop Noll ran out onto the Worthen Arena floor at Ball State University for the Class 2A volleyball state championship wearing navy T-shirts that read, on the back, “Uno Mas.”
It had been the team’s rallying cry since beating North Judson in the regional championship match and had inspired them in the semistate round when the Warriors defeated Madison-Grant (3-0) and Woodlan (3-2) for the school’s first semistate crown.
Team members would raise their index finger and indicate “one more” point was needed to finish the game.
But they were never able to do it at the state championship match against state-ranked No. 1 Providence.
The Warriors fell behind in each game and had just one small lead (3-1) in Game 3 as the Pioneers avenged their loss in the state championship against Wapahani in 2012 to beat the Warriors, 25-18, 25-15, 25-20, on Saturday afternoon.
Seniors Asya Hobbs (who finished the season with a school record 271 blocks) and Carissa Jones (who finished the season with 236 kills and 237 digs) came up with the slogan in the summer when they saw the Gatorade commercial glorifying the expression.
But neither of them ever thought it would take them to the school’s first-ever state championship match.
“It was disappointing to lose but it was still good to make it this far,” Jones said. “This was a great experience overall. Making it here was like, ‘Wow!’ And though we didn’t win, I’m still glad this was my last game as a senior.”
Jones and Hobbs had the hardest time matching up with Providence outside hitters Haley Libs (11 kills) and Taylor Wilson (14 kills). The Pioneers defense was also stellar digging up 48 balls and recording 16 blocks compared to Noll’s six.
“They were pretty big but our blocking was off,” Jones said. “And our defense wasn’t able to get into the right position.
“They were very tough on offense, too. I couldn’t find a spot to tip to and if I tipped they were there already; it was like they were one step ahead of us the whole time. They were very good on their toes.”
Junior Carly Cappello, who had played in three national championship matches with club, was disappointed the team didn’t win the ultimate prize, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. She tied a match-high with 14 kills and contributed a team-high 13 digs.
“She definitely was the key player at key times for us,” Jones said of Cappello. “She kept us in it and did it at the right times for us.”
Coach Dave Rodriguez vows that Bishop Noll will be back in the state championship match next year.
“This was an unknown to us,” he said. “Now we know what we need to do and what to work on and we have to step it up even more next year.
“We made notes that we need to work on. Every loss from this year we took something from it whether it was tip coverage or attacking the gaps and we made quick adjustments.”
He will miss Hobbs and Jones who helped make the Warriors who they were this year, though.
“Besides their numbers, which are astronomical and they both predominately play all the way around, they’re both inspirational leaders,” Rodriguez said. “They lead in two different ways. Asya is a quiet, follow-my-lead type of player and CJ is vocal, passionate; she always talks to the team and gives the little things. It’s what they do off the court with this team that’s going to be missed.”