November 16, 2012

Chemistry helps Bishop Chatard win state championship

Members of the Bishop Chatard High School Class 3A state championship girls’ volleyball team pose with their trophy on Nov. 3. (Submitted photo)

Members of the Bishop Chatard High School Class 3A state championship girls’ volleyball team pose with their trophy on Nov. 3. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

The dream of winning a state championship for the Bishop Chatard High School girls’ volleyball team had come down to this tense, excruciatingly nerve-racking situation.

The championship match on Nov. 3 had just been tied at two games each by the team from Yorktown High School—the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A that had decisively beat Bishop Chatard for last year’s state title.

Now, the championship would be decided by a winner-take-all fifth game to 15—a reality that led parents in the stands to pray, pace and pull in deep breaths in anticipation.

The players on the Bishop Chatard team approached this overwhelming moment in their own way.

They laughed and danced before they took the court.

The scene made their head coach, Nick Wolf, smile.

“At the beginning of the season, we pressured the girls at times to see how they would react,” Wolf recalled later. “They didn’t play well when we did. We learned they played better when we got them in a positive mood.”

That positive mood before the final game exploded into a scene of pure joy when the Bishop Chatard Lady Trojans won the decisive set and the 2012 Class 3A state championship in girls’ volleyball.

The joyous feeling added another touch when co-captain Marissa Collier was named the Mental Attitude Award winner. Marissa is one of seven seniors on the team.

“All seven of them helped lead us to the state championship,” Wolf noted. “They all had the feeling of losing in the state championship last year, and they wanted redemption.”

While the state championship provided a moment of redemption, the scene following it offered a surprising touch of romance as Wolf proposed to volunteer assistant coach Suzanne Van Schaak after the trophy presentation.

“I got the ring on Friday [the day before the state championship], and a couple of coaches wanted to see it,” Wolf recalled. “Then one of the players walked by, saw it and started going crazy. The next thing you know, all 18 of the girls are around us. They asked me to ask her after the game.”

Wolf told the players to focus on the championship match, which was played at Worthen Arena on the Ball State University campus in Muncie, Ind.

“After we won, I had the ring in my pocket,” Wolf said. “I was going to wait until later in November or December to ask her. But she’s a Ball State grad and she loves volleyball so it was a good place and a good time to ask.”

She said yes, and the laughing, the dancing, the smiling and the hugging started again.

“The biggest thing with the team this year was chemistry,” Wolf said. “They came together as a team. On the court, they all seemed to be best friends.” †

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