After graduating eight starters from last year’s regional champions, no one expected Andrean (27-7) to be a dominant team this season.
WIthout young players like junior hitter Lauren Stazinski, the only returning starter from last year, the Niners might not be playing for a regional championship against Griffith on Tuesday.
Stazinski collected 21 kills, including several in the deciding fifth set of Saturday’s thrilling 25-11, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-10 win against Hanover Central in the Class 3A Knox Sectional championship. She came up big in the pivotal third set and in the clinching fifth set.
“She’s just so athletic; she could do that every time,” Andrean coach Julie Wiejak said. “She really could. It was like something woke her up, and she realized there’s a lot of nervous people who’ve never started or been in a sectional championship before.
“When push came to shove, it was a big moment. And Lauren was like, ‘I’ve been here before so I’ll step up and give you seven kills in a row,’ or whatever it was. It was insane.”
Stazinski said the 59ers didn’t want their season to be over.
“It feels grea,t” she said. “I really wanted to do this for our coach and our team.”
Wiejak said the sectional championship was sweet after losing so much from last year’s 31-6 team.
“We lost 10 seniors, so everyone was like all year, ‘Andrean might not be that good, they lost 10 seniors,’” she said. “It’s very good.”
Andrean is also looking forward to hosting Griffith on Tuesday in its quest for its sixth regional crown.
“We’ll have a great crowd and a nice support system there,” she said. “Now that we’ve done this, we’re road-tested — 14 games in (three) days — we took all those to almost win by two points or three points.”
Tuesday’s winner advances to Saturday’s Plymouth Semistate.