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Holy Cross wins All “A” Classic state volleyball title with players’ moms coaching the team

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Thirteen years ago, Jill Hunt resigned as head volleyball coach at Holy Cross High School because she had an 11-month-old daughter with another girl on the way.

Both of Hunt’s daughters are now playing volleyball for Holy Cross. That’s why she returned to help coach this year’s team and became one of three moms on the Indians’ bench. Returning head coach Becky Houston and assistant coach Pam Wurtz also have daughters on the team.

Holy Cross volleyball players and coaches pose with Kentucky All “A” Classic championship trophy. (Photo provided)

Last Saturday, they all made history together when Holy Cross won the Kentucky All “A” Classic state tournament in Richmond. It was the first time that a Northern Kentucky volleyball team won a state championship with a head coach who had a daughter on the roster.

“It was very exciting,” Hunt said. “We started the season with five seniors and I told them this is your opportunity to do something big, and they did.”

One of those seniors is setter-outside hitter Torie Houston, a Northern Kentucky University recruit who was named most valuable player in the All “A” Classic state tournament. She’s the daughter of the team’s returning head coach who now shares that title with Hunt.

The Indians’ starting lineup also includes junior middle hitter Torri Wurtz, freshman setter Maya Hunt and eighth-grade middle hitter Julia Hunt, the daughters of the other two coaches.

Torie Houston

The other six players on the Holy Cross roster are seniors Skylar Alsip, Paige Branum, Allyson Ehlman and Elizabeth Martin and juniors Grace Martin and Olivia Miller.

Jill Hunt said all four of the coaches’ kids grew up playing on Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club teams, but they were always in different age groups. At Holy Cross, they got the opportunity to be on the court together and win a state championship.

The Indians made their first appearance in the small school state tournament since claiming the 2011 title. They won three matches in pool play on Friday and three matches in the single-elimination championship bracket on Saturday.

After getting past Walton-Verona, 25-15, 29-27, in Saturday’s opening match, Holy Cross won a tense three-set semifinal match against Owensboro Catholic, 14-25, 25-16, 30-28, to reach the final.

“The Owensboro Catholic kids had three match points on us and we came back and won, which is pretty big,” coach Hunt said. “It went back and forth quite a bit. There were plenty of times (our players) could’ve laid down and been done with it, but they fought and showed they really wanted it.”

Holy Cross defeated Louisville Presentation, 25-18, 25-23, in the final match to bring home the championship trophy. The high school has an assembly scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday to celebrate the volleyball team’s success.

The Indians will take a 16-2 record into their home match against Dixie Heights at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. A strong finish to the regular season could surpass last year’s 21 wins and put them in position for a second consecutive trip to the 9th Region tournament.

“In order for us to go through the regional, we’ll have to step it up on defense,” coach Hunt said. “They’ve been working really hard at it, so I think we’ve got a shot to beat some of the big teams in the region.”

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