HAMMOND | The IHSAA officials patrolling the out-of-bounds lines in Saturday's Class 3A Clark Sectional championship game are surely going to be sore after what seeing Kelsey Bonewits and Lisette Roldan.
The powerful and athletic duo made the refs dodge several bullets for kills from the two of them in Griffith's 25-14, 25-15, 25-16 win over Gavit to claim its second sectional title since 2006.
"We have to have the attitude that we must play every point like it's the last one of the season," Griffith coach Cathy Dilbeck said. "If we can do that, we'll be pretty hard to stop."
Griffith (21-9) jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first game, as the Panthers made their presence known early and often by scoring six straight at one point.
"(Setter) Megan (Tuttle) put the ball in a good spot and reads the blockers well. She pretty much calls the offense, and we listen to her," Bonewits said.
At 19-8, Gavit appeared to have the advantage on a long rally after Griffith shanked a hit, but senior Melissa Miller dove by the Panther bench and managed to drive the ball over the net by a hair.
"That play was all from adrenaline," Miller said. "I never want a ball to drop, so I just stuck my arm out, and it worked."
Griffith did the same thing in the second game and jumped out to a big lead of 14-5, but Gavit (16-13) stormed back and cut the lead to three and forced Griffith to take a timeout.
After the time out, Griffith won 10 of the next 13 points in dominating fashion, thanks to a couple aces by Roldan and six kills from Bonewits.
The Panthers continued to be the aggressors in the third game by winning 17 of the first 22 points. But after the Gladiators responded with five straight, Griffith promptly put away the opposition by notching four of the last seven.
"I'm definitely a little disappointed, and we didn't play our best today," Gavit coach Amy Woynaroski said. "But this is the best record we've ever had, and I'm excited for the future, because we have a lot of juniors coming back, and hopefully we'll come back with more intensity and experience."