Vikings go from worst to first

“For years, everybody looked at Miami East as a win on their schedule,” Vikings volleyball coach John Cash said. “My first couple of seasons, we would beat some teams and I would hear their players saying ‘I can’t believe we lost to them.’ ”

In 2009, Cash took the helm of a program that had tallied 12 wins in a 10-year span, including a couple winless seasons.

Four years and two state titles later, the East seniors are on pace to make history. The Vikings (16-4) are one win away from surpassing the record of 95 career wins set by last year’s graduating class. And if East can close the regular season with one more Cross County Conference victory, they will have won every league match they played since seventh grade, losing only one set in six seasons.

“These girls are the epitome of what it means to be a team,” Cash said. “They find a way to win for each other.”

The two-time Division III state champions have had some bumps. This week marks the first time all season that the Vikings are all healthy.

“We had girls go down with injuries before the season even started – at team camp,” Cash said.

Cash’s daughter Sam was back in the lineup Tuesday after a month-long bout with mononucleosis. It wasn’t the illness that bothered the setter/hitter most, it was delaying the inevitable – breaking her older sister Abby’s career kill record of 745.

When Sam was relegated to the bench, she trailed her big sister – who now plays at Lincoln Memorial University – by just eight kills. She broke that record on Tuesday.

“I’m really excited about breaking her record,” Sam said. “The younger sister always looks up to the older sister.”

They also frequently try to one-up their big sister.

“The rivalry goes back to when they were little kids,” John Cash said. “I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘I can do it better than you,’ but they both pushed each other to be the best they can be.”

The same is true of all five Vikings seniors. Injuries and illnesses forced Cash to shift players around but rarely was there a complaint.

“They are the ultimate team players. They do whatever they are asked to do,” he said. “The character of this team and their work ethic are just unbelievable. They just have the will to find a way to win and they do it together.”

The Vikings close out the regular season with senior night at 6:30 p.m. today.

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