Since 2010, there has only been one volleyball team standing at center court holding the Sectional 60, Class A championship trophy. For those counting, that adds up to 11 straight sectional titles. That team is the Hauser Jets. On Saturday night, Hauser had a chance to start a new decade long streak. A victory over Greenwood Christian would ensure that the 2020s would start just as the 2010s ended.

Yet, even though the Jets have dominated the Edinburgh sectional since the current players were anywhere from five to seven years old, this championship match was far from a certain victory. Hauser had to find a way to defeat a team in Greenwood Christian that had defeated them a month earlier in five sets. They had to find a way to contain the dynamic senior duo for the Cougars of Izzy Reed and Mayah Schundelmier. They had to find a way to mentally overcome the earlier setback to the championship opponent. Although it was a tall order, Hauser answered the bell, winning their 11th straight sectional championship in four sets; 25-22, 19-25, 25-19, 25-16.

Luckily for the Jets, they had a quartet of seniors of their own that was not going to allow this impressive streak to end. This was a group of seniors who had never lost a sectional match, nor were they ready to lose their first. Marnie Schwartzkopf, Aunaka Wasil, Hannah Johnson, and Sophia Musillami all contributed during the match.

It was Johnson and Wasil who shouldered the load. While Johnson dominated at the net and from behind the service line, it was Wasil who assisted her. She had 43 assists on the night, while Johnson had 26 kills and three aces in the match, both of which led the team.

“I was able to get into a zone hitting the ball tonight,” Johnson said. “I didn’t allow any negativity into my mind, and that helped.”

That says a lot for Johnson and her teammates, considering the Cougars came out of the gate hitting, and hitting well, while the Jets struggled to get going. A pair of kills by the Cougars’ Schundelmier put Greenwood Christian up 7-3 early in the first set. Hauser was able to right the ship enough, however, to tie the set at seven. The Cougars, however, did not let up. An Izzy Reed kill gave her team a 13-9 lead before the Jets once again fought back to tie the set at 15. From there, no team led by more than two points the rest of the game. It was with Greenwood Christian leading 21-20 that Hauser’s championship experience reared its head. The Jets closed out the set on a 5-2 run to win and take a 1-0 set lead.

“I think with our experience in winning sectionals, we know how to close out these games,” Johnson reflected.

The Cougars were not deterred. Once again, they jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but Hauser gave them a lot of assistance. The Cougars used a 7-0 run, aided by five Jet service reception errors to take a 9-4 lead. Although the Jets tightened up to pull within two points at 10-8, the Cougars were relentless, growing their lead to as much as ten points at 18-8. The Jets did not go quietly, as they saved four match points, but the lead was too big and Greenwood Christian evened the match with a 25-19 victory.

It was the third set that turned the tide of this championship match. The Cougars once again jumped out to a quick lead, 12-7. On the next point, the Jets showed their heart and hustle, scrambling to save a point. During the rally, however, Reed injured her ankle and had to be helped off the court. While she was receiving medical attention, the Jets took full advantage scoring the next five points to tie the set at 13. Reed managed to enter back into the Cougars’ lineup with the score tied, but she was less than 100%. It appeared that her return may spark Greenwood Christian to go on a run, as they managed to take a slim two-point lead, but Hauser did not let that happen. After the Jets tied the score at 16, once again they closed the game out strong outscoring the Cougars 9-3 to win the set and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Hauser coach Jeff Case commented. “I do feel that the injury changed the match some. But we played a great team tonight. We knew what we were up against, and I am proud of the way we played.”

Hauser was like a shark smelling blood in the water during the fourth set. For the first time in the match, the Jets jumped out to an early lead. Although the Cougars tied the game early at three, Hauser took control of the set from there. Midway through the game, Hauser led 15-7 and never let Greenwood Christian get closer than four points the rest of the way, closing out the match with a 25-16 fourth set victory.

And with this championship win, the Jets began this decade just as they ended the last and hoisted their 11th straight sectional championship trophy. When asked about the sectional championship streak, Case used one key word.

“Validation. It is validation for all of the hard work the girls put in.”

With the victory, Hauser advances to Saturday’s regional match at Morristown, where they will face Indiana School for the Deaf. And as they look to the rafters in the Yellow Jackets’ home gymnasium, they will notice sectional championship banners won by Morristown, who had an impressive sectional championship streak of their own, winning nine straight from 2000-2008. And although they have surpassed that streak, they will realize there is unfinished business left to do.