Pairings for the 39th annual IHSAA state finals in volleyball were established Saturday during semi-state play highlighted by the fourth appearance in school history for the Bellmont Squaws
The new format of the tournament has eight teams entering play at Worthen Arena on the campus of Ball State University in Muncie with four classes set to crown a champion. Worthen Arena has been home to the IHSAA state finals for the last three years with Bellmont winning a 3A championship in the initial year there in 2007.
The Squaws beat the Brebeuf Jesuit Braves in the morning round of the IHSAA state tournament that year and then ousted Mishawaka Marian for the title at night 25-16, 27-25, 25-23.
Those 2010 line-up includes:
4A—Penn (38-1) vs. Muncie Central (34-4), 7 p.m.
3A—BELLMONT (33-4) vs. Brebeuf Jesuit (31-2), 5:30 p.m.
2A—Fairfield (34-4) vs. Muncie Burris (38-0), 4 p.m.
1A—Lafayette Central Catholic (30-7) vs. Indianapolis Lutheran (27-11)
Admission to the IHSAA state finals is $9 per person at the door and tickets are slated to be available on a pre-sale basis at the Bellmont High School office this week. Bellmont officials said more information about the sale of tickets would be available after a meeting late this morning.
According to IHSAA records, only nine schools in Indiana have won more regional titles than has Bellmont (11).
Brebeuf, making its fifth appearance in the state finals, again provides the entertainment for Bellmont on Saturday but they had to rally in their semi-state match just like Bellmont did. Both teams spotted their opponents a first game victory before coming back with a three-game sweep. Brebeuf lost round one 17-25 to Evansville Memorial but regrouped for wins of 25-20, 25-8, 25-11. Bellmont was spurred to victory by a huge comeback rally in game two at 25-23 (after trailing 23-18). Games three and four also went to the Bellmont column was 25-18, 25-19 tallies. Yorktown edged Bellmont 25-21 in the opener.
Brebeuf is the defending state 3A champion knocking off Yorktown last year at Worthern Arena and this is the fourth straight year the Braves have appeared in the title match. They were beaten by Delta in the 2008 and by Bellmont in 2007.
In addition to Bellmont, Southwood and Fairfield were the only schools from the northeast/central section of Indiana to make the final four in their class. Fairfield eliminated a talented Southwood team directed by Tom Finicle and their victory Saturday gives them a chance to reverse last year's loss in the traditional Death March to Burris in the championship game.
Muncie Burris, 38-0, on the year, has won the 2A state title for the past 10 years and is figured to by a heavy favorite to repeat this year. They defeated Brownstown Central in the semi-state, a team that has been a state finalist in eight of the past 10 years (four of those losses came in the championship match).
One of the rare setbacks for the Burris Owls came in the 2003-04 state finals. While they won the title that year, they received a reality check in game one of the semi-finals as Coach Joan Gross took her Adams Central Jets to Indianapolis and handed Burris a 21-19 setback. Burris rallied to win the next three but knew they had been in a dogfight, something that hasn't happened. Other than its match with AC, only in the 2003-04 tourney has Burris not posted a three-game sweep in the past 10 years (a five game match with Brownstown Central).
In class A action Saturday, Indianapolis Lutheran topped Barr-Reeve in five matches after Barr-Reeve had jumped out to a 2-0 lead by winning the first two rounds. The only other team in class A close to this area that even made it to regional was Wes-Del, a team in the Bellmont Quad tournament in late October. Wes-Del was knocked out in the regional by Lafayette Central Catholic, a team that will battle Indianapolis Lutheran for the class A title.
Delaware County is again well-represented in class 4A as Muncie Central powered its way to a 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-17 triumph over Columbus East in the semi-state game Saturday. They'll play Penn, 38-1, in the finals. Penn handled LaPorte in the semi-state contest after LaPorte had eliminated Northeast Hoosier Conference representative Carroll in the regional.