Westview ended over a decade of disappointment in the IHSAA volleyball state tournament series Saturday evening in Albion when it topped LaVille, 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 in the finals of the Central Noble sectional.
The title is the first for the Westview program since 2001. It also earned the 24-10 Lady Warriors a 2A regional date against host Adams Central, which defeated Bluffton in three games to win its sectional.
“This team has worked so hard and has improved so much from the start of the year, it’s great to see celebrate a sectional title,” said head coach Heidi Brohm, a member of Westview’s sectional championship club 11 years ago. “It’s so much better this time as a coach because I’ve seen how much these seniors, who have been with me all four years, have battled through the ups and downs to reach this point.”
After vanquishing two-time defending sectional champion Prairie Heights in the semifinals earlier in the day, the Lady Warriors came out strong in the first set against LaVille, leading from the start. Westview tallied the last six points, two coming on a pair of aces by senior Kelsey Carmack.
But LaVille, which survived its own semifinal tussle against county rival Bremen, gathered itself in the second game to net 12 of the first 16 points. Top hitters Katie Berger and Kelsey Gurtner each contributed two kills to the run.
“LaVille is a scrappy club and covered our hitters well,” said Brohm. “The Prairie Heights match took a lot out of us and we had to find a way to hit smart and take advantage of scoring chances when they came about.”
The Lady Warriors began to chip away at the Lady Lancer lead and finally caught them at 17-all. After trading the next four points, a powerful kill by Carmack triggered another 6-0 spurt to cap off the winning rally.
Westview took control of the third set with a four-point run started by yet another Carmack spike. Junior Breann Bushong’s third and final solo block of the match garnered the title-clinching point.
Carmack finished with 16 kills, three aces and 10 digs to pace the Lady Warriors in all three departments. Freshman Grace Hales delivered 10 kills and a solo block, Carrie Chupp 27 assists and Candice Chupp nine digs.
In the semifinal victory over Prairie Heights, Westview roared to wins in the first two games by margins of eight and six points. But the Lady Panthers, determined to hold onto their sectional crown, rallied back to take the next two games, thus forcing a fifth and decisive set.
“I think we may have relaxed a bit after going up two games, but you can never count out Prairie Heights,” said Brohm.
The final game was close throughout, but a couple of key plays down the stretch gave Westview the 15-13 triumph.
“Beating them (Prairie Heights) last week in the NECC tournament gave us a lot of confidence, which is big for us,” said Brohm. “Had we lost to them again, it would have been tougher for us to believe we could beat them today.”
Carmack racked up 18 kills and 16 digs in the win over the Lady Panthers. Hales had 10 kills and two blocks, Bushong nine kills and six blocks, Carrie Chupp 33 assists and 19 digs, and junior Rachel Johns four aces.
The regional match against Adams Central is set to start at 7 p.m. Adams Central High School is located on U.S. 27 in Monroe.