After getting home late Tuesday night from the Bellmont Regional, where the Yorktown Tigers rolled to a sweep over the hosts, head coach Stephanie Bloom had less than an hour to watch film on New Prairie. Wanting to go into Wednesday’s practice with some sort of scouting report for her team, she noted they had some heavy hitters.
The biggest thing, however, she came away with and tried to convey to her top-ranked Tigers in advance of Saturday’s match against the No. 4 Cougars at the Twin Lakes Semistate was that they were going against a team well-versed in winning.
Regardless of who New Prairie has lined up against (it ranks 50th in strength of schedule, according to IndianaPrepVolleyball.com, compared with 16th for Yorktown), it hasn’t lost since Aug. 29 – a span of 29 matches.
“It doesn’t matter who they’ve played,” Bloom said. “When you’ve won that many games in a row, it means something.”
Yorktown, meanwhile, is 36-1 with its lone loss coming to one of Class 4A’s top teams, the Central Bearcats.
Bloom mentioned New Prairie will have a size advantage, but that’s nothing new to undersized Yorktown at this point, as the Tigers have used intelligence and speed over and over to combat taller teams. Kendall Murr and Olivia Reed have held their own in the middle all season.
“It’s going to come down to defense, as it always does for us,” Bloom said. “But I like where we’re at right now.”
With a win, Yorktown would play No. 6 South Bend St. Joseph (33-4) or Leo (28-8) at 7 p.m. in hopes of advancing to the state final, which would be the following weekend at Ball State’s Worthen Arena.
Wapahani looks to continue momentum
Their record may not appear to match up with some of the 30-win squads left, but the No. 4 Wapahani Raiders (21-11) are as battle-tested as any team in the state, ranking eighth regardless of class going into Saturday’s Bremen Semistate battle against No. 9 Hammond Bishop Noll (27-11).
For a team with underclassmen all over the floor, like sophomores Skyler Van Note and Lexi Spence, that makes this deep postseason run a little less daunting.
“The experience this season has all brought us closer,” Spence said after the Raiders pulled out a four-set win at Madison-Grant on Tuesday. “We’ve all worked hard and we’re showing it now.”
The winner plays either No. 6 Westview (30-5) or No. 3 Rochester (35-1) at 7 p.m. with a trip to the state championship on the line.
Contact sports features writer Ryan O’Gara at (765) 213-5829. Follow him on Twitter @RyanOGaraTSP.