MUNCIE — With a thrilling five-set win over Carmel Saturday night at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena, the Avon Orioles girls’ volleyball team brought home the schools’ second team state title in its history.
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Avon downed Carmel 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 15-10) and the Orioles displayed a gritty and determined performance the entire way in front of a raucous crowd.
“I was so proud of them and they have made so much progress and improvements throughout the year,” Avon coach Scott McQueen said. “I am super proud of the girls, they deserve it.”
But the championship did not come easy and Carmel (37-2) did not just hand the title to the Orioles.
The Greyhounds jumped on top of Avon early in the first set, getting out to an 11-4 lead, but the Orioles fought back, tying the match at 19-19 and led 21-20 before Carmel reeled off five consecutive points to take the set. Calle Weddle led the Orioles with six kills on 11 attacks.
Despite getting down early in the first game, Avon built some confidence that carried over into the second set. It was the Orioles turn to get out in front after a 9-9 tie, going on a 10-3 run that pushed them to a 25-20 victory. That marked the first time the Greyhounds had lost a set in 49 tries, dating back to September 27 against 3A state champion Indianapolis Chatard.
Avon’s front line really started to click during that set and it carried over into the third game.
In the pivotal third set, Avon steadily worked ahead of Carmel and continued to play consistent, and at times, dominating volleyball. With three kills from Shelby Connors midway through, Avon increased its lead to 20-14 and cruised to a 2-1 match lead.
With a state title in the balance, Avon needed to seize control from the Greyhounds but could not in a fourth set that featured six ties, the last at 13-13. Carmel went on a 7-3 run after that and gained momentum heading into the fifth and final set.