Franklin’s bid for a boys state volleyball championship ended Saturday against one of the state’s top teams.
The seventh-ranked Grizzly Cubs lost to Chesterton in the semifinals of the Indiana Boys Volleyball Coaches Association State Finals at Southport High School.
Chesterton, ranked No. 3, swept the Cubs in three straight games, 25-0, 25-15 and 25-19.
Despite the loss, Franklin coach Kat Sarles lauded the Cubs’ run to the state finals.
“On paper we probably shouldn’t have been here, but we exceeded expectations this year,” Sarles said. “Beating second-ranked Cathedral (last week) was great and the boys just had a wonderful season.”
Chesterton went on to defeat Roncalli in the championship match, 25-17, 25-13, 25-27, 18-25, 15-11.
Franklin, which had trouble matching Chesterton’s speed and communication, finished the season 17-6.
“(Chesterton) did take us a little by surprise,” Sarles said. “They were quick and disciplined, and they had that unknown element to them. We didn’t really know anything about them.”
The Cubs found out immediately as the smaller Trojans patiently hit their spots, forcing Franklin into several errors.
While game one went in Chesterton’s favor, it wasn’t until game two that it really stamped its authority, taking a 6-2 lead and controlling the game. The Trojans did pretty much the same in the final game, taking control and forcing the Cubs into uncharacteristic mistakes.
Rice had six kills and an ace for the Cubs, and he, along with junior Travis Nerding (10 digs) and freshman Hunter Gross (18 assists), were among the most consistent players for Franklin.