MORGAN TOWNSHIP | All Alexa Kartje has been looking for over the last two years has been an opportunity to play the game that she loves.
The Morgan Twp. junior began her high school career at Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne) before joining the Cherokees last season.
Kartje arrived late to Northwest Indiana and had to miss the first five games of the season before settling in as an outstanding libero. Now fully acclimated to Morgan Twp., Kartje is ready to make an impact.
"All I want to do is play," Kartje said. "Nothing else matters to me. I want to play and I want to win."
Kartje has finally found a groove as a junior and a lot has to do with her coach. Matt Bien returned to head the girls program after spending the last several years running the boys team.
Bien is Kartje's third high school coach in three years, but the two have already formed a bond.
"Having Kartje out there just changes things," Bien said. "It's like we have a coach on the floor. There are hits that I can't figure out how she's going to get a body part on them, but she does. She makes the passers better and that makes the hitters better."
Kartje's talent has been on full display in the opening week of the season.
The junior libero has 88 digs through three matches and is averaging nearly seven digs per game. Those numbers put Kartje among the national leaders among teams that have submitted stats to MaxPreps, an internet stats/recruiting service.
"Everything has been easier for me this season," Kartje said. "I'm fully adapted to the school, to my coach and to my teammates. We have bonded together and we know how to read each other on the court."
Bien feels the same kind of connection with the team this season.
Normally a squad defined by youth, the Cherokees have a roster littered with seniors and juniors.
"These girls know what to expect from me and know what to expect from each other," Bien said. "Being able to add Kartje into the mix has just made everything work that much more."