Two season ago, Kerry Uhrina failed to make the Valparaiso volleyball team.
This year, she is a captain for Class A No. 5 Washington Township, which just won the program's first regional title and is two wins away from playing for the state championship.
"We're glad to have her at Washington Township," Senators coach Scott Campbell said. "I think it was a good move for her and the school both."
Uhrina was cut from the Valparaiso volleyball team as a sophomore. After playing on a club team in the winter, she decided she wanted to play again as a junior.
Washington Township High School Principal Jerry Hale is a family friend, so her father suggested that she go to Washington Township and play for the Senators.
"My dad wrote to Scott, and he asked if I could come try out, and Scott said, ‘Yeah,'" Uhrina said. "I came in May, and it has been awesome ever since."
Neither Uhrina nor Campbell knew what to expect from each other on the first day of tryouts, but it didn't take Campbell long to realize he had a new asset for his team.
"I knew absolutely zero (about her)," Campbell said. "I had never heard of Kerry Uhrina. Our principal actually said we had somebody moving in, and she had played at Valpo and was a good player, but you never know the word of mouth of a principal over what they do. She came in, played the first day and gelled with the kids right away."
"I was definitely really nervous when I came here, but they all took me right in," she said.
After the Senators lost to Pioneer in the regional last year, Campbell said Uhrina worked hard to get better before this season.
"She put in a lot of time in the summer with our jump-training program," he said. "She just really gelled with the kids and took off this summer."
Her efforts paid off, as she was selected to be one of the captains on this year's team.
"I knew the girls kind of looked up to me and asked me everything," she said of being named captain. "It's just a really good feeling."
She was also named to the All-Porter County Conference team.
"For her to be all-conference this year says a lot to the way she worked," Campbell said.
Uhrina and Vickie Flanders, who was named the conference's MVP, combined to give the Senators a one-two combination that led the PCC in hitting.
"It takes the pressure off of us when Vickie's in the back row that we have two more kids that can go up and get a kill," Campbell said. "We're not totally relying on Vickie for every single point of the game, which is huge."
Flanders had 13 kills in the Regional win over Pioneer, while Uhrina added 11, including the match-clinching kill in the fourth set.
"Vickie is one of the biggest hitters, but teams know that, so when they shut her down, the rest of us need to take her place, and we all need to work together to get as many points as possible," Uhrina said.
After clinching the school's first Regional title, Uhrina and the Senators, who are 32-5 on the season, have one goal in mind.
"State. We have wanted state from the very beginning," she said.