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No. 5 Bronchos claim regional title
May 20, 2012Lafayette Jefferson High School
The Lafayette Jeff boys volleyball team earned a trip to the state finals next week with a three-game victory over Southport on Saturday at Dennis Blind Gymnasium.
The victory puts the fifth-ranked Bronchos (14-11) into the state quarterfinals against No. 4 Zionsville (22-4) at Cathedral High School next Saturday.
Jeff pounded Southport 25-20, 25-13, 25-13 with strong hitting throughout the match from seniors David Steckler, Mike Woods and Jeffrey Reed, who combined for 36 kills.
â€œThis is one of the better games weâ€™ve had this season,â€ Woods said. â€œIt was a challenge, but we did all right. We were talking well as a team and that helped a lot.â€
Southport was a surprise winner against No. 10 Noblesville in the semifinal, 25-21, 13-25, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10.
It took a while for Jeff to find its footing against Southport as the Cardinals scored the first four points in the first game and led 11-8.
â€œWe were shocked Southport actually won,â€ said senior Chase Arihood. â€œWe watched film on Noblesville and practiced for them all week. We beat Southport earlier in the year and we knew we could again but they came out tough.â€
The Bronchos went on an 11-2 run to take control. A Woods kill made the score 19-13 as Jeff cruised the rest of the way.
â€œAfter the initial nervousness, I thought we really played well,â€ said Jeff coach Gail Gripe. â€œI thought they showed some things that we worked on in practice this week. Itâ€™s really an accomplishment for them to get back to state.â€
That would be the only game Jeff would trail and the Bronchos proved to be the aggressors in the final two games.
Jeff scored the first three points in the second game but found itself knotted with the Cardinals 6-all before kills by Steckler and Arihood sparked a 9-2 run that lifted the Bronchos to a 15-8 advantage.
â€œWe have seven seniors on the team, so we were fighting pretty hard to get into the state tournament,â€ said Steckler, who led his team with 17 kills, followed by Woodsâ€™ 12 and Reedâ€™s seven. â€œOur main thing was getting together after every point and clearing our minds about our mistakes. I think all together we hit good, served good and passed good.â€
In the third game, the Bronchos scored nine of the first 10 points and looked poised to make quick work of the Cardinals. Southport fought back, trimming Jeffâ€™s lead to 14-10.
â€œWe were getting a little relaxed and sloppy out there,â€ Gripe said she told her team during a timeout. â€œWe wanted to remind them about hitting angles and hitting high while going back to the stuff we worked on in practice. That kind of steadied them out.â€
Jeff finished the game on an 11-3 rally to capture the regional title. Southport coach Brock Chipman said he didnâ€™t want to blame his teamâ€™s performance on the earlier contest against Noblesville.
â€œWe were tired out and fought competitively against Noblesville, but Iâ€™m not going to take that away from Lafayette Jeff,â€ Chipman said. â€œThey came out and they beat us. Iâ€™m not blaming it on how tired we were. Theyâ€™ve got a good team and they can beat Zionsville.â€
Zionsville beat Jeff 3-2 and 3-1 earlier this season, but Gripeâ€™s team is hoping for a different result next week.
â€œItâ€™s going to take a lot of practice and hard work to beat Zionsville,â€ Woods said. â€œWe still have to talk and work together as a team to win.â€