Immanuel middle school squad ready for tourney

For The Tribune

The Immanuel seventh-grade volleyball players haven’t lost a match since the fifth grade.

After finishing their regular season 25-0, the Warriors — for the first time ever — will play today in the state seventh-grade volleyball tournament in Muncie.

This team has beaten many bigger schools during the season, such as schools from Floyd Central and Bloomington — making a name for themselves in the state.

In the tournament, they’ll play three games in a round-robin format to start the tournament and will end up playing at least four games.

Some of the girls started playing volleyball as early as the second or third grade.

“These girls play well together, they all try really hard,” Warriors coach Kendra Knieriem said. “They like to compete, and they don’t like to get beat and that’s always good.”

Knieriem believes the payoff is in their practices, where they practice repetitions on the basics and work hard.

“The girls put forth the effort in practice every day,” Knieriem said. “I’m pretty hard on them. We make them do it the right way. We do it over and over until they do it the right way.”

Kennedy Hoffman said she loves playing on this team.

“We are a hard-working, hustling team,” Hoffman said. “We build each other up, and we are great friends. We keep our heads up.”

Hoffman said she started her volleyball career at Girls Inc.

Most of these girls on the team have played club volleyball outside of Seymour, including travel to teams from Columbus to Kentucky.

“It gets harder each year as they progress,” said Knieriem. “These girls are eager to learn. To go undefeated in the seventh grade is a major feat, and it will be exciting to see how they progress next year.”

“I’m proud of this team,” the Warriors’ Elly Carter said. “We’ve done it for three years now. We work as a team and keep trying even when we are down.”

Seventh-grader Lauren Knieriem said her team never gives up.

“I love my team, and we all work so hard to be undefeated and it takes a lot of practice,” she said. “Every practice we give 110 percent, and it’s really paid off.”

Grace Meyer said she hopes the competition the Warriors have seen during the season will help the team find success in the postseason.

“We have good competition, and we work better if we have better competition,” Meyer said.