Valkyries' tough schedule pays off with state title

By SUSAN RIDDELL State Journal Sports Writer Published:

The Sacred Heart volleyball team has played a tough schedule throughout the season, hoping it would pay off in the state tournament, and it did just that as the Valkyries took the title over a game Notre Dame squad.

"We played a very tough schedule," said Sacred Heart coach Bill Cecil of his team, ranked No. 1 in the state and 25th in the country. "I don't think any team in America played a tougher schedule than we did."

The Valkyries defeated Notre Dame 25-19, 19-25, 15-7 to claim the school's first state championship in volleyball Saturday night at the Civic Center.

"This is a totally awesome feeling," Cecil said. "The girls always believed in themselves and it paid off."

Sacred Heart had to survive several rough moments to win the championship however. Notre Dame came out strong in the second set and took it right to the Valkyries, forcing the tiebreaker.

SHA's Taylor Kopple, who has won two championships as a key member of the girls basketball team, started the final set with a kill, and Ellen Heintzman added a kill for the second point as Sacred Heart built a 7-1 lead in the rally scoring format.

The Pandas earned a side-out on a kill by Meredith Harmon, but the team couldn't earn a point on serve until the score was 14-7 and Sacred Heart needed one more point to win.

That point came after a great rally, which finally ended when SHA's Alli Christian earned a kill.

For more on this story, see today's State Journal.

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