UN­STOP­PABLE

Cox comes back from nose­bleed to lift North Jud­son to first state ti­tle

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - By Robby Gen­eral

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.

DOUG MCSCHOOLER/POST-TRI­BUNE

North Jud­son's play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter win­ning the Class 2A state cham­pi­onship on Satur­day.

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