The NG

Host Union squares off against Union City in Thursday’s first round match that begins the melee for the 2021 Randolph County Volleyball Tournament.

The winner moves on to the big Saturday showdown at Monroe Central and will take on the host Lady Bears at 9 a.m. Saturday in the opening semifinal match. Winchester takes on Randolph Southern immediately after in the second semifinal match.

Both semifinal winners advance to the championship game.

The county volleyball tournament has a long and interesting tradition with Randolph Southern winning the first event in 1977 after Indiana high school girls’ sports were first sanctioned by the IHSAA. Every county school has had its share of success over the years.

Winchester is the defending champion, and under first-year coach Matt Curts the Falcons appear primed for a repeat. But Union City, victors of the tournament in 2019, is having a great season under Amy Gard and comes in on a nice roll at 13-7.

Monroe Central is 8-10, but the Bears have shown some good play at times and it wasn’t too long ago (2015-18) that the Bears rattled off four championships in a row.

While Randolph Southern and Union don’t have as many season wins, one can never tell what a tournament atmosphere might do to inspire a team to step up its game.

Since that first tournament, Winchester has won 19 titles, Monroe Central 10, Randolph Southern eight, Union three and Union City two.

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