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Highland’s Taylor Vandommelen sparks Trojans to long-awaited…

highlands taylor vandommelen sparks trojans to long awaited - Highland's Taylor Vandommelen sparks Trojans to long-awaited...

LOWELL — Like a lot of young Indiana girls with a big dream, Taylor Vandommelen grew up inside a gym.

“I aspire to play like all those great college players I’ve seen,” she said.

But Vandommelen wasn’t dribbling a basketball or trying to hang nets with an outside jump shot. The Highland sophomore had another goal.

Her mother, Michelle Orth, coached high school volleyball at Luther East and is now coaching at South Suburban College. And that is how this story started.

“I grew up in the gym,” Vandommelen said. “I’ve worked very hard to be the best player I can be.”

“She lives, breathes and eats volleyball,” Highland coach Abbey Strohl added.

This notion was on full display on Tuesday night in the Class 4A Lowell Sectional opener. Highland beat E.C. Central 25-13, 25-23, 25-14, giving the Trojans (5-20) their first postseason win in at least the last six years, according to Strohl.

Highland advances to play Lowell at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal.

Vandommelon had six kills, 21 assists and 17 digs against the Cardinals (8-17).

“We worked all day on serving and passing,” Strohl said of her team’s Monday practice. “We struggled early but we were able to pull it out. We’ve got a lot of things to work on before Saturday.”

Highland was 0-2 against the Red Devils during the regular season.

The Trojans’ Amanda Hoffman had 11 digs and six aces. Teammate Garran Grider led the team with seven kills. Kodi Heston added six aces and five kills in the win.

This is Strohl’s third season at Highland, starting to turn the corner on the rebuilding project.

“To get our first sectional win means a lot,” she said. “This opens doors for our future. We have a lot of young kids who now see what is possible.”

On the other side of the floor was Cardinals coach Kelly Spencer, finishing her first season as E.C.’s coach. Only eight players were dressed, but Spencer was pleased with how hard her girls competed.

Tiara Jackson had six kills and four blocks. Amari Jefferson had three kills and five aces.

“We’re in the toughest sectional in the state,” Spencer said. “Lucky us. We’re only losing one senior so we should have a lot of kids back. Everywhere we went this season I had athletic directors and coaches tell me they saw the improvement our kids made, which is great.

“There is a lot of excitement about volleyball at our school right now.”


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