In comparing the two state run teams, the 2012 campaign was filled with more uncertainty. The 2011 Orioles were not only ranked No. 1 in the state, but they were rated one of the best teams in the country and was undefeated until the state finals game (39-1). McQueen felt last season that there were times when it “sometimes came easier than maybe it should have.”
This season has been more trying for Avon after two early back-to-back losses to Carmel and Westfield.
“This year we’ve definitely had some peaks and valleys,” McQueen said. “The target has been a little bit bigger than in past years and this just makes it a little more gratifying.”
The match against the Greyhounds was the Orioles’ third game of the season and Carmel won 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-17).
“They played well and we didn’t play well,” McQueen said of the first meeting. “Sometimes those are relative to each other. They did some things that made us not do so well and we did some things badly that made them look a little bit better.”
The Greyhounds sit 33-1 on the season with their only loss coming against Bishop Chatard in the fifth set by a score of 16-14.
With all of Avon’s recent success, they are typically the one being hunted. Not the underdog.
But headed into the rematch, McQueen knows what the Orioles are facing in Carmel.
“They are a good team. They are tall, they are athletic, they play very good defense and they deserve all of the accolades they have gotten,” he said. “They are probably an expected opponent for the state finals.”
Even with the elevated stage of playing in the state championship, Avon needs to do the same things they always try to do in order to win.
“We are going to have to be composed. We definitely understand there are going to be some wild fluctuations of emotions,” McQueen said. “And it’s going to be the same thing as most of the time for us. It’s going to be how we handle the ball and how we serve. When we do that, we’ve got some good athletic kids who can definitely take some good swings.”