GRIFFITH | "Good enough is never" is the motto that the Times No. 3 Wheeler volleyball team has adopted this year.
After Tuesday's loss to fellow tourney participant Hanover Central, the Bearcats knew what they had to do to win Saturday's Griffith Invitational.
With Hanover in its pool, Wheeler swept the Wildcats 25-17, 25-19 and also quickly sent No. 9 Whiting and Morton packing on its way to the title game against Gavit.
"We never want to plateau and do not want to be complacent," Wheeler senior outside hitter Haley Plothow said. "On Tuesday, we didn't play bad, but it was just a tight match. We knew from the beginning that we had to be ready to go."
Then, in the Bearcats' most dominant performance, they beat the Gladiators 25-10, 25-8 for the title.
Wheeler (19-1), who took the Gold Division in round-robin play, opened up a 9-2 lead on Gavit, taking advantage of some unforced errors.
After a Gavit timeout, the Bearcats started running their offense and getting some kills of their own – including five straight at one point – which helped them easily take the first set.
"Our pool had some tough teams, and we knew we had to play some defense," Wheeler coach Alisha Polite said. "It was good for us to lose in a sense because (Hanover Central) exploited our weaknesses and we grew from that."
The second set wasn't much different for the Gladiators (13-8), who took the Black Division in round-robin play. They falling behind 15-6 right away, largely in part to seven combined kills by seniors Natalie Roe and Shannon Doyle.
It was academic from there as Wheeler took 10 of the next 12 points, disposing of the Glads thanks to eight unforced errors in that span.
Gavit coach Amy Woynaroski thought her team played great all the until the title game.
"We've never done this well in pool play by going 3-1," she said. "It was good to see teams that we haven't played yet because it helps us grow. We just got a little tired and made some mistakes that we didn't make earlier in the day.
"Once we were down we felt defeated right away."