the north face hats ‘Underdog’ Dragons face Brebeuf at semistate
SELLERSBURG Silver Creek is in the Final Four. That alone makes the Dragons a pretty good team.
Throw in a little added motivation from a revered talking head and who knows how good Creek can be.
Silver Creek (34 4) faces Brebeuf (28 9) in Saturday’s Class 3A semistate at Columbus East. The Dragons have the better record, play the tougher competition, and oh yeah, they beat Brebeuf in four sets just a couple of weeks ago.
That didn’t stop respected volleyball voice Mike Lingenfelter of Munciana Courtside from picking the Braves to advance to the state finals. Twice.
“They’ve kind of got a chip on their shoulder,” Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman said of his team. “That’s good. We don’t want to be the favorite. We’re excited and ready to play.”
Lingenfelter picked Brebeuf over Silver Creek just before the tournament, despite the Dragons’ recent 25 18, 24 26, 26 24, 33 31 win. He predicted again that the Braves would win this week in front of the semistate.
“We’ve done it before,” junior outside hitter Karli Ware said of beating Brebeuf. “If we play like we have been, I think we can do it. We’ll try to prove them wrong.”
The Dragons had a chance to sweep Brebeuf less than a month ago. They led 19 12 in the second set before letting that set the only one they lost get away in a 26 24 defeat. That,
of course, doesn’t mean the Braves aren’t dangerous. They feature a front line that includes junior Reagan Hopp, who ranks 12th in the state with 525 kills. And she’s not alone. Classmate Talia Trabue has 382.
“They’ve got some very athletic kids,” Zimmerman said. “They’re really scrappy. They get after it. I don’t know if they have a weak spot.”
Recalling the last matchup with the Braves, junior libero Zoie Zimmerman expects an arduous battle Saturday.
“I think we played pretty well [in the last meeting], but we can also clean it up a little,” she said. “Their defense is pretty solid. I think it’s going to be a battle either way.”
The last time Silver Creek went to state was in 2009. It was beaten by a Brebeuf team that won the school’s third state championship. It won a fourth title in 2014.
“Then they had three or four [Division I] players,” Coach Zimmerman recalled the 2009 team. “That was just my second year here at Silver Creek and we were just getting things rolling. We felt fortunate just to be in the Final Four, whereas this year we feel like we have a chance to win [the 3A state championship].”
Silver Creek is coming off a semistate in which it beat Madison in four sets in the morning then swept Heritage Hills for the its first semistate title in eight years.
“We feel like we’re playing our best all year at the right time of the year,” Coach Zimmerman said. “I think it’s our focus more than anything. [Senior captains] Ashlee Ullrich and Amy Mobley, they make sure everybody’s buying into what’s going on. I think that’s helped us focus more than anything.”
Ware said they key to the Dragons’ postseason success has been taking the tournament one match at a time.