Heading into Friday’s IBVCA state quarterfinals, the Franklin boys volleyball team has just three blemishes on its record.
The Grizzly Cubs could have a chance to avenge each of them this weekend.
Franklin’s quest to win its first state championship could potentially lead it through each of the three teams that defeated the fourth-seeded Grizzly Cubs during the regular season. The journey begins tonight with an 8 p.m. quarterfinal match against No. 5 Cathedral.
Should the Cubs prevail and move on to Saturday, they could see top seed Carmel in a morning semifinal, and No. 2 Noblesville is a potential opponent in the afternoon title match.
Franklin isn’t necessarily viewing this as a revenge tour, but the team is eager to get another crack at the Fighting Irish tonight and potentially some other familiar foes as well.
“These last three matches are going to be tough,” head coach Sarah Records said. “They’re going to be hard-fought, and we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
The state tournament, which includes all 33 of Indiana’s high school club teams, has not featured much parity thus far. Only one of the top eight seeds failed to make the quarterfinal round — No. 8 Cardinal Ritter, which lost in a four-set regional final against No. 9 Southport.
Nineteen of the 23 regional matches that were played last week were decided in three sets, and only two went the full five. One of those was Franklin’s home win over Brownsburg in the regional final.
This weekend figures to be more closely contested. All of the remaining teams have plenty of experience playing against one another, and the results can vary on any given day.
Records likes her team’s chances of reaching the final match for the first time.
“I feel like we’ve got the pieces to accomplish something that’s never been done in program history,” she said. “This is one of the best teams we’ve had in a while in terms of being able to break that ceiling.”
A glance at how the eight teams left in the field stack up going into this weekend’s matches:
No. 1 Carmel (33-10) vs. No. 9 Southport (23-14)
Head to head: The Greyhounds swept the Cardinals, 25-14, 25-22, 25-16, on March 14.Against the field: Carmel is 13-3 (beat Lafayette Jeff three times, Roncalli three times, Fishers twice, Noblesville twice, Cathedral, Franklin and Southport; lost to Cathedral, Noblesville and Roncalli). Southport is 2-11 (beat Fishers and Lafayette Jeff; lost to Noblesville three times, Franklin twice, Fishers twice, Lafayette Jeff twice, Carmel and Cathedral)
Notable: Southport, the host for the weekend, lost seven of its last 10 regular-season matches. … Seven of Carmel’s 10 losses have come to out-of-state teams.
No. 4 Franklin (23-3) vs. No. 5 Cathedral (20-13)
Head to head: The Fighting Irish defeated the Grizzly Cubs in Franklin on April 20, 25-21, 25-18, 25-18. Franklin won the May 6 rematch, 25-17, 25-16, 24-26, 23-25, 15-9.Against the field: Franklin is 6-3 (beat Southport twice, Cathedral, Lafayette Jeff, Noblesville and Roncalli; lost to Carmel, Cathedral and Noblesville). Cathedral is 5-6 (beat Carmel, Franklin, Lafayette Jeff, Noblesville and Southport; lost to Roncalli three times, Carmel, Fishers and Franklin).
Notable: Franklin is seeking its third trip to the semifinals in the last four years; Cathedral is the defending state champion.
No. 2 Noblesville (31-7) vs. Lafayette Jeff (17-14)
Head to head: The Millers have won all three meetings with the Bronchos this season — a pair of tournament victories as well as a 3-0 road sweep on May 3.Against the field: Noblesville is 13-5 (beat Lafayette Jeff, Roncalli and Southport three times each, Fishers twice, Carmel and Franklin; lost to Carmel twice, Roncalli twice, Cathedral and Franklin). Lafayette Jeff is 3-10 (beat Southport twice, Fishers; lost to Carmel three times, Noblesville three times, Cathedral, Franklin, Roncalli and Southport).
Notable: Noblesville has won seven of the eight sets played between the two teams this season. … Both schools lost in the quarterfinal round a year ago.
No. 3 Roncalli (31-9) vs. No. 6 Fishers (29-11)
Head to head: The Rebels swept both regular-season meetings in straight sets, winning at Fishers on March 21, 26-24, 25-10, 25-20 and adding a two-set tournament victory on May 3.Against the field: Roncalli is 10-7 (beat Cathedral three times, Fishers and Noblesville twice each, Carmel, Lafayette Jeff and Southport; lost to Carmel three times, Noblesville three times and Franklin). Fishers is 3-8 (beat Southport twice, Cathedral; lost to Carmel, Noblesville and Roncalli twice each, Lafayette Jeff and Southport).
Notable: Roncalli is seeking its fifth consecutive semifinal appearance. The Rebels were defeated in the championship match in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and lost to Cathedral in the semis last year.
IBVCA State Finals
Carmel vs. Southport, 6 p.m.
Noblesville vs. Lafayette Jeff, 6 p.m.
Franklin vs. Cathedral, 8 p.m.
Roncalli vs. Fishers, 8 p.m.
Carmel-Southport winner vs. Franklin-Cathedral winner, 11 a.m.
Noblesville-Lafayette Jeff winner vs. Roncalli-Fishers winner, 11 a.m.
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.