The 1990 Class B state champs
By Jarann Johnson
The 1990 Center Wildcats weren’t a tall team and were in a challenging region. Despite being small and having to defeat the reigning state champs and state runners-up, Center got it done and won a state championship.
The Wildcats run to the 1990 Class B state championship happened in the pre-rally scoring era, which looked slightly different than today’s game. The state tournament was also played during the winter, in February, instead of in November like it’s currently played.
Janet Erhardt, the Wildcats’ current head coach and head coach during the state championship run’ explained differences between the two volleyball eras.
“The philosophy of coaching – you’re still going to try to run the same offensive things’ but serving was different because you couldn’t serve anything close to the net. Because they [the opposing team] stood up there and they could block it, that happened quite often,” Erhardt said.
“The other thing was net serves were side-outs, that was different back then. Going to 15 back then was a whole different ball game. But again it took a lot longer to get them done because you had so many side-outs that weren’t worth points. Where as now, you can time it a little bit better with the side-out part of it as getting a point too.”
Blocking the serve is no longer allowed under the current rules. Even though the game was played slightly different during the pre-rally scoring era, ideas were the same.
Having height was valued then just as much as it is valued now. The Wildcats didn’t have much height, though.
The team’s tallest girl was 5-foot-8 and most of the girls on the team hovered in the 5-foot-6 range.
Aside from being short, the Wildcats would also have to defeat Beulah in the Region 8 tournament to advance to the state tournament.
Beulah was no easy opponent to defeat – they won the 1989 Class B state tournament, which was the first state sanctioned tournament, and were looking to go 2-for-2.
Beulah came into the Region 8 tournament as the No. 1-seed. Erhardt recalled motivating her team before the championship game.