HAMMOND | Hanover Central’s girls volleyball team has stormed into the Greater South Shore Conference the same way it exited the Porter County Conference -- winning.
The 2012 PCC round-robin and tournament champion Wildcats remained the only undefeated volleyball team all-time in the GSSC -- for now -- by moving to 2-0 with a 25-15, 18-25, 25-19, 25-18 win over Times No. 4 Bishop Noll Wednesday night.
“With this being our first year in the conference we want to make a statement about Hanover Central,” first-year Wildcats coach Erin Zeller said. “We want to be known as a very competitive team.”
When the match reached its most competitive heights and the Warriors got great spikes over the net and blockers -- courtesy of Asya Hobbs (12 kills, 7 blocks), Carly Cappello (13 kills) and Carissa Jones (9 kills) -- Hanover had a fierce back row to save itself over and over.
Libero Taylor Wyrwa, one of four new starters for Hanover, and setter Savanna Zakman combined for 50 digs.
“That’s basically my job,” said Wyrwa, who was 26-for-32 passing and 14-14 serving with three aces.
“I got lined up, and I didn’t get all of them, but I was aggressive, which was pretty good. This win means a lot, considering we’re always considered an underdog. It’s a big confidence-booster.”
The Wildcats (7-1, 2-0) opened the late first game of a freshman/JV/varsity tripleheader with a 10-6 lead and never trailed en route to a 25-15 win.
Noll bounced back with a 25-18 victory with a comfortable lead throughout. The Warriors (5-3, 1-1) then took an 11-3 lead in the third set, and it appeared Hanover Central’s place in the temporary record books would be deleted.
“After the second game I told them good teams are made in the second, third, fourth sets,” Zeller said. “To come out and win, then lie down and die like that did not show our true character.”
Hanover came back with strong front line play and tied the set at 13 and again at 15. The Wildcats led the rest of the way and were in control much of the third set, minus a 12-12 tie at Noll’s final rally.
The Wildcats survived Lowell in five matches and were swept by Andrean the first week of the season, but this showed that the GSSC will not be easy to navigate.
“After the second game we realized we had to get our heads out of our butts,” Wyrwa said. “We do this thing where we win a game and get cocky, but we realized Bishop Noll is not playing around.
"They’re going to still come out and slam it on us. They weren’t going to stop, and we had to play to their level.”
Bishop Noll had plenty of energy and effort, but the Warriors committed too many errors. Across the four games, Noll made 15, 8, 14 and 8 unforced errors.
“(Hanover) did a great job of picking up balls and reading where we were going with them,” Noll coach Dave Rodriguez said. “With our side, we’ve got to execute better. When we execute, we’re good. When we don’t, we can be beaten.”