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October 11, 2005

Deaf Hoosiers seek historic title

From: Indianapolis Star - United States - Oct 11, 2005

By Kristen Leigh Porter

To Indiana School for the Deaf volleyball coach Aimee Bippus, her squad already has accomplished more than any volleyball team before it.

For the first time, the Deaf Hoosiers were ranked in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Class A state poll. They are currently No. 4.

Next week, the squad will try to earn the first IHSAA sectional title in school history in any sport. Indiana Deaf (31-3) opens play against Covenant Christian as hosts of a nine-team sectional.

"We need to build a history about our sport programs as our programs are gaining recognition," Bippus said Monday via e-mail. "It would be a huge accomplishment for our fans in the deaf community and especially for our school and players."

Last year, Indiana Deaf defeated Lutheran during the regular season but lost in five games in the sectional championship match. The Deaf Hoosiers led 14-10 in the fifth and deciding game before the Saints came back to win 17-15.

"It was something we will always remember," Bippus said.

A rematch could happen only if both teams earn a spot in the championship match.

This season, Bippus' squad already has faced five of the other teams in its sectional. The Deaf Hoosiers swept Lapel and Eminence 3-0, beat both Covenant Christian and Bethesda Christian 3-1 and lost to Ritter in five games.

Although several of her players have been injured, including starting setter Micaela Paulone and leading hitter Nukeitra Hayes, the Deaf Hoosiers have kept winning.

Last month, the team traveled to California for an annual Spike Out Tournament with other deaf teams and swept all comers for the championship. On Oct. 1, the Deaf Hoosiers beat other deaf teams from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin en route to the Central States Schools for the Deaf title, its eighth in a row.

"Winning the sectional title will be a hat trick for us, our best accomplishment for this year," Bippus said.

Last year, the Deaf Hoosiers broke 34 school records. Another 10 individual and several more team records have been set this season.

Repeat no easy feat

New Castle coach Phil Leswing knows it won't be easy for his team to defend its Class 3A sectional title. Besides his second-ranked Trojans, other teams in the title mix could include No. 6 Yorktown, 18-8 Pendleton Heights and 16-10 Hamilton Heights. The sectional hosts are pitted against New Palestine in an early matchup.

"I think it's a very deep sectional," Leswing said. "There's a lot of teams that think they have a chance and believe they can win that sectional."

The Trojans (28-4) count wins against 4A No. 2 Cathedral and No. 3 Center Grove. They play 4A No. 1 Muncie Central on Thursday for the North Central Conference championship.


Veteran Carmel coach Doug Kehoe picked up his 400th win Saturday over Terre Haute North. Kehoe is in his 17th year with the Greyhounds, who are 26-5. . . . Roncalli is on a six-match winning streak since losing to Brebeuf Jesuit. Four of those wins came Saturday en route to the LaPorte Invitational, of which Paige Weber was named MVP. . . . Against Logansport on Saturday, New Castle's Caitlin Cox served 18 straight points, including eight aces, in a single game. . . . Speedway's Katie Wilson has 452 kills, tops in the metro area. . . . Center Grove's Mandy Nichols is nearing the 400-kill mark at 372, which is 4.43 per game. . . . Bishop Chatard's Jessica Zirrillo has 386 kills.

Call Star reporter Kristen Leigh Porter at (317) 444-2611.

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