MERRILLVILLE | The Andrean girls volleyball team didn't practice on Monday.
Instead, they made signs and t-shirts in support of their coach, Julie Wiejak, who had turned in her resignation for undisclosed reasons Monday afternoon.
They held a team sleepover and coped together.
When they learned before their Tuesday win over Highland that their coach would be returning, the 59ers couldn't contain their excitement.
"We found out and went into the lockerroom and we said, 'OK, five-second scream, that's it,'" captain Marija Nicksic said. "Words cannot describe how happy we are to have her back with us."
"Our parents were helping us, they know what Coach means to us," captain Marisa Beemsterboer said.
Junior varsity coach Meagan Skinner coached the team to their 25-21, 25-22, 25-13 win over Highland, though she wasn't planning to.
When she learned from Wiejak that the head coach would be returning, she was asked to coach the team. Until that point, athletic director Bill Mueller was set to coach the Niners vs. the Trojans.
"Julie Wiejak will be back coaching (Wednesday)," Mueller said. "I was informed of talks between the administration and her this afternoon. I was (just) informed she'll be back. I literally was going to be coaching the team tonight, now I'm not."
"I was not prepared or planning to coach tonight, I found out seconds before the game started," Skinner said. "I was going to stand by Coach Julie, I was dedicated to my JV team and told the administration that I would continue my duties with the JV team, and stand by Coach Julie."
Wiejak didn't return a request for comment.
The volleyball team placed signs reading "Bring Her Back" and "We Love Our Coach" along the gym walls.
Their pregame warmup t-shirts read "Playing for Wiejak" on the front and "#fearless" on the back, taking a page from the Munster motto set at the beginning of the season.
The Niners play the Mustangs tonight in their final Northwest Crossroads Conference game.
"Everything she's taught us in life and volleyball, and to have that ripped away was difficult," Nicksic said. "As soon as we heard those words come out of coach's mouth, we weren't thinking about Munster.
"Andrean volleyball is more than just a sport, it's more than just a team, it's just this group of girls that love each other. Season is so much more than a time when we pass the ball around, it's like Christmas to me. The idea that that was ending took precedence over a single game."