By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — FAIRMOUNT — It might have been one of the best five-minute meetings in Indiana high school volleyball history.
Just about 10 days ago, Madison-Grant volleyball coach Bob Holloway challenged his team’s will.
Their will was just fine on Tuesday as the Argylls came back from a 2-0 hole to win three straight sets and a regional title over perennial powerhouse Muncie Burris. The match scores were 23-25, 21-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-13.
“I questioned their will,” said Holloway. “In every match that we had lost a set, we had lost the match. We corrected that against Elwood (a three-set sectional semifinal win).”
So after falling behind two sets, they had to call upon that will. “I thought at the end of the two sets we weren’t passing the ball well. After that we quit making mistakes.”
They also had a couple of freshmen play key roles. Both of them have the same last name.
Kenzie Stitt finished with 48 assists. “The thing about Kenzie as a setter, she doesn’t care who looks good,” said Holloway. “She’s going to set whoever will get the job done.”
In this case it was Chloe Stitt, who came up with 26 kills and six blocks over the course of the five sets. “It has gotten to place that I’m surprised when Chloe doesn’t get a kill,” said Holloway. “I am surprised when they get the ball back.”
But it still came right down to the wire.
Madison-Grant kept threatening to put the match away early in the fifth set and Burris kept fighting back. The Argylls had leads of 6-3, 7-4, 10-6, 11-7, 12-8 and 13-9. All of those were significant in a fifth set that is only played to 15 points. Jessica Hull and Mallorie Havens played huge roles at the net in getting those leads.
But the Owls’ Alyssa Peters’ kill made it 13-10 and gave the serve to Taylor Kring. Burris tied the game thanks to a pair of blocks by Taylor Harman. A net violation by the Owls gave the Argylls the lead 14-13.
Kenzie Stitt went back to serve and Hull provided the winning kill, giving her 19 to go with 39 digs.
“This feels great,” said Holloway. “We’ve been flying under the radar. I know we’ve been ranked all year but at the start it was because of our past teams. This team has accepted my decisions to play some of the younger players.”
The Argylls (26-9) play in the Bremen Semistate on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Bishop Noll (28-9). Woodlan (25-7) will face No. 7 Southwood (26-10) in the second semifinal. The title match will be at 6 p.m.