HAMMOND | Bishop Noll had a unique form of celebration as it hoisted the Class 2A regional championship trophy Tuesday night.
The Warriors sang "happy birthday" to freshman Brittany Anderson after their 25-14, 25-11, 25-15 win over North Judson.
"All I can say is it was a great birthday present (to win a regional championship)," Anderson said. "We definitely had our ups and downs but I think my team put it together and gave me a great birthday present."
Anderson did her part to make sure it was indeed a happy birthday, setting up teammates all night to finish with 22 assists.
It's the Warriors' first regional title since the switch to class volleyball was made in 1997.
"This has been a process for two years and this really feels good," coach Dave Rodriguez said.
Noll (28-9) struggled early. The Blue Jays actually led 11-10 in the first game.
"I thought we came out a little flat tonight," Rodriguez said. "Maybe it was the excitement of winning a sectional for the first time, or if they were pressing or if it was nerves."
Rodriguez called a timeout to settle his team. It worked. North Judson (11-26) never scored more than two consecutive points again.
Asya Hobbs and Carly Cappello rained down kills which the Jays could never quite get a handle on.
When it came time for the final point to clinch the win, Rodriguez said he looked to the crowd.
"We gave this thing, everybody puts their finger up to say 'uno mas,'" Rodriguez said. "We can never get it right on the first time.
"We finally did."
The Warriors move on to the Bremen semistate this weekend.
"These kids are notorious for stepping up to the competition," Rodriguez said. "I have full confidence that they will understand what they have to do Saturday."