Cox comes back from nosebleed to lift North Judson to first state title
MUNCIE, Ind. — Nothing was going to keep North Judson senior Lauren Cox out of the Class 2A state championship match.
She could’ve done without the nosebleed, however.
Midway through the second game against Christian Academy, the senior middle blocker — attempting to make a diving defensive play — hit her face on the court, which caused the bleeding.
After stopping any further leakage and cleaning a speck of blood off her jersey, Cox played the rest of her match with tissue paper in her nose.
That didn’t seem to affect her performance, though. As “You can’t stop her” chants echoed from the Bluejays’ student section, Cox rallied for match-high 21 kills to give North Judson the school’s first-ever state championship with a 25-23, 27-25, 25-21 sweep.
“I just wanted to get back out on the floor,” Cox said. “We had a lot of momentum rolling and I needed our team to stay in that mindset. For me of all people to have an injury I was just mad at myself and figuring out how to make it better at the time.”
When Cox came to the bench, the first thought for first-year coach Madison Fingerhut was, “Oh, no.” Cox is North Judson’s top offensive player,
“This could not be happening,” Fingerhut said. “But, man, that just shows how much of an athlete she is and how much she just wanted to be out there.”
Cox set the tone right the beginning of the match, scoring each of the first three points for North Judson (27-7). She finished with 19 digs and a block kill.
Fellow senior middle blocker Macy Reimbold also helped set the tone at the net, finishing with 17 kills, 13 digs and three blocks.
For Fingerhut, those two seniors made all the difference.
“It shows how mentally tough
they are,” Fingerhut said. “Our first time being here and Christian Academy has already been here … this is our first time being at a state final.
“For us being mentally tough and to feed off the energy and go out there and give our all was huge.”
The victory capitalized a dominant playoff run for North Judson, which won 21 of 22 postseason games.
North Judson knew a victory over Christian Academy (30-10), which has made the state championship match each of the past five years and won in 2015, wouldn’t be easy.
“We had a huge focus on trying to play the way we have all year long,” Cox said. “It was really big for us to not overplay or overthink this moment because that can get a lot of teams.
“We just tried to take it in and know we were going to go to work.”
Robby General is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.
North Judson's players celebrate after winning the Class 2A state championship on Saturday.