November 22, 2013

Players fight through adversity to help Brebeuf Jesuit claim Class 3A state title

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School players celebrate winning the Class 3A state volleyball championship on Nov. 9 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie. (Submitted photo)

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School players celebrate winning the Class 3A state volleyball championship on Nov. 9 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

Anna Huse considers it fitting the way the volleyball team of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis recently earned a state championship.

“We had a lot of close matches like that this year,” said Huse in describing her team’s 26-24, 27-25, 25-23 win over Concordia High School of Fort Wayne, Ind., in the Class 3A championship of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) on Nov. 9 at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena in Muncie.

“It reinforces that this team never gives up. They fight. They have the belief they can win.”

They also have a touch of history as they became the first volleyball state champions with more than 10 losses in a season.

Starting the state tournament with a record of 13-12, Brebeuf’s team won seven matches in the post-season to claim its fourth state title in the sport.

“Our loss record doesn’t reflect the quality of our team,” said Huse, the first-year head coach. “We faced a lot of great teams during the season. We also had some injuries. But we always moved forward. That was what was special. Through the struggles, they kept fighting.”

Huse paused and added, “I felt extreme happiness when we won. I was so proud and honored to coach this team through the season.”

A year ago, the 33-year-old Huse couldn’t imagine coaching at Brebeuf. A 1999 graduate of Milan High School in Milan, she was in her sixth season as an assistant coach of the volleyball team at Miami University in Ohio. But that focus changed as she prepared to be married in March and her husband-to-be, William, received a job offer in Indianapolis.

“My mother-in-law informed me of the opening at Brebeuf,” Huse recalled. “I called the school at the end of January, I was hired in February, and we were married on March 1.”

The Brebeuf players quickly bought into her coaching philosophy, Huse noted.

“My philosophy is to learn every day to become a better team, to get better at the game, and to be accountable for our performance,” she said. “Team intelligence is important. Inclusion is, too. The players developed a sisterhood through the season. Their leadership was excellent.”

One of the team’s leaders, Sierra Witham, was named the recipient of the Class 3A Mental Attitude Award.

“I’m extremely proud of all the players because they worked so hard and fought so hard,” Huse said. “When you work so hard for months to get a goal, it’s so great when you accomplish it. It just feels right.” †

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