AVON — Volleyball matches like Saturday’s between defending Indiana state champion Avon and defending Kentucky state champion Assumption don’t occur all that often. When they do, the competition makes for exciting viewing and the Orioles and Rockets definitely didn’t disappoint.
Avon took an energy-filled first set 27-25, but Assumption reeled off three straight set wins (25-20, 25-20 and 25-15) to seal the match, 3-1.
“Both teams are pretty talented and it gives us an opportunity to see some things we haven’t seen,” Avon coach Scott McQueen said. “Everything we got, we earned.”
Avon has built its program over the past few years, culminating with a state-runner-up finish in 2011 and state championship in 2012.
Assumption, ranked No. 1 in the nation, has won the last three consecutive Kentucky state championships and an almost unheard of 17 of the last 21 titles. The Rockets travel to play the best competition they can find and it’s a necessity Assumption coach Ron Kordes believes sharpens his squad.
“You only get better playing good competition and it’s the only way to improve,” Kordes said. “You have to play the best competition you can find, plus it’s fun.”
Avon and Assumption came out and thrilled a large crowd with a first set that included 14 ties and six lead changes. Tied at 24, Assumption went up 25-24 but Avon rallied for the 27-25 win.
“The energy was so great in the first set and we had trouble maintaining that but some of that is because Assumption is very good,” McQueen said.
Kordes said he knew the Rockets would have trouble with Avon’s size, was impressed with how well the Orioles attacked the net and said “Avon is so big and so powerful and we were a little overwhelmed in the first game with their power.”
Between the first and second sets, Kordes adjusted his game plan and Assumption built some momentum of its own.