— Is the second time the charm?
That is the question coach Scott McQueen and the Avon Orioles volleyball team are asking themselves as they prepare for the Class 4A state volleyball finals for the second year in a row.
After losing to Penn (3-1) in the 2011 state championship, the Orioles are headed back to Worthen Arena in Muncie looking for redemption. Saturday’s game is against Class 4A No. 2-ranked Carmel.
“It’s been our goal all season long and now that we are here, our focus is on still doing the skills that have made us successful in the past six matches,” McQueen said.
During the six game postseason run, Avon has won 18 sets and lost only three.
They tore through sectional 11 at Perry Meridian to win their 12th sectional title in a row. The Orioles beat Decatur Central (3-0), Pike (3-0) and No. 7-ranked Perry Meridian (3-0) in the sectional championship.
Martinsville (29-4) provided the next obstacle for Avon in the one-game regional. The Orioles stood on the brink of elimination after winning the first set, 25-15, and losing the next two, 19-25 and 22-25. But Avon bounced back to win the final two sets 25-22 and 15-10 to claim its third straight regional crown.
In the morning game of semistate, the Orioles handled No. 3-ranked Columbus East 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-18). Avon met No. 10-rated Cathedral with a state championship appearance on the line in the evening game of the Seymour semistate. The Orioles weathered a rough second set and won 3-1 (25-17, 15-25, 25-20, 25-17).
Heading into the state finals, Avon is firing on all cylinders.
“We’ve always taken the regular season as basically a really long preseason. It’s just taken time for our kids to get in their most comfortable roles,” McQueen said. “One of the things that have been pretty neat about the postseason is we’ve had different people step up every match.”