Tipp back at state volleyball for first time in 13 years

The Tippecanoe volleyball team takes a 27-0 record in today's Division II state semifinal match vs. Gilmour Academy at Vandalia Butler High School. CONTRIBUTED
The Tippecanoe volleyball team takes a 27-0 record in today's Division II state semifinal match vs. Gilmour Academy at Vandalia Butler High School. CONTRIBUTED

The little red bus is rolling on.

The Tippecanoe volleyball team – aka the little red bus that could – is back at the state volleyball tournament for the first time in 13 years. Most of the girls on the team were just toddlers the last time the Red Devils qualified to state.

“We come from an unknown conference and we’re not a big name school,” Tippecanoe head coach Howard Garcia said. “In the past, we’d go as far as regionals but that was it.”

This year was different for the Red Devils.

“In the past, when we got pushed back, we caved in but, this time, that wasn’t the case,” Garcia said. “This time when we took a punch, we gave two back.”

Case in point was the Red Devils regional final match against Roger Bacon which was decided in a marathon 19-17 fifth set. Tipp trailed late, 12-9, and the Spartans even mustered a match point at 14-13 only to see the Red Devils battle back.

“At the end of the day, team unity and the knowledge of the kids made the difference,” Garcia said.

Success is a team effort for the 27-0 Red Devils. Over the past three seasons, this Tippecanoe squad has compiled a 76-5 record, won three consecutive Division II Southwest District championships and made three regional tournament appearances.

Senior outside hitter Corinn Siefring leads the Red Devils offense with 283 kills. The district player of the year is one of only two players in school history to tally more than 800 career kills.

Senior setter/middle hitter Rachel Wildermuth is close behind with 205 kills this season. Wildermuth leads the team in blocks with 41, adding to her school record for career blocks.

Three-year varsity starter Alaina Titley is the third member of the talented trio of senior captains. The libero has tallied a team-leading 382 digs.

Senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Husic has sparked the Red Devils service game for the past two seasons, posting a team-leading 59 aces this season.

The 6th-ranked Red Devils will need all of those weapons as they take on top-ranked Gilmour Academy Friday in the D-II state semifinals at Butler High School. This marks the 10th appearance in the Final Four for the Gilmour Academy Lancers. They won the state title in 2015.

“They’re a traditional good ball control team,” Garcia said of the Lancers. “It will come down to who makes less errors.”

* Division IV: New Bremen (24-3) is looking to move one step closer to defending its state title as the Cardinals will face Newark Catholic (20-5) in the D-IV semifinals Saturday. New Bremen has been the team to beat in recent years as the Cardinals also claimed the state title in 2017 and were runner-up in 2018.

46th Annual Girls Volleyball State Tournament Schedule

Friday

Division II

10 a.m. – No. 2 Jonathan Alder (22-0) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (13-4)

1 p.m. – No. 6 Tippecanoe (27-0) vs. No. 1 Gilmour Academy (21-1)

State Championship: Sunday, 9 a.m.

Division I

4 p.m. – No. 11 Bishop Watterson (17-6) vs. No. 1 Padua Franciscan (20-0)

7 p.m. – No. 2 Mount Notre Dame (21-2) vs. No. 9 St. Joseph Academy (16-9)

State Championship: Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

Saturday

Division IV

10 a.m. – Newark Catholic (20-5) vs. No. 3 New Bremen (24-3)

1 p.m. – No. 2 Tiffin Calvert (27-0) vs. Dalton (18-8)

State Championship: Sunday, 4 p.m.

Division III

4 p.m. – No. 4 Tuscarawas Valley (27-1) vs. No. 3 Independence (N/A)

7 p.m. – No. 2 Huron (23-2) vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (20-7)

State Championship: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

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