INDIANAPOLIS — Incoming South Newton 7th grader, Taylor Cripe, helped lead her club volleyball team, The Boiler Juniors 12 Gold, to a second-place finish at the national championships recently held in Indianapolis.

The Boiler Juniors qualified for nationals by winning a regional tournament in Indianapolis then performed well under the bright lights of nationals to finish second out of 48 teams.

“I thought it was huge just to go to nationals, but to see them perform that well in that type of environment was amazing,” said first-year head coach of the Boiler Juniors 12 Gold Jessica Lucas. Lucas is the graduate student manager for the Purdue Volleyball Team. She was a 4-time All American at Western Kentucky University.

Cripe not only played well during the tournament, but she also came up huge in clutch moments to propel her team to the finals.

“Coming into the tournament, I told Taylor she had to be a leader,” said Lucas. “When games get tough the other girls look to her. She stepped up and carried the team. The pressure never got to her. We don’t really keep stats at that age, but she definitely led us in kills.”

The team finished the season with an overall record of 58-15. Out of 11 tournaments, the team won three championships and finished in the top 5 in all of the others.

“Taylor was a huge part of our success this season,” added Lucas. She is one of those players who just goes with the flow during the game but when she goes up and attacks the ball, it can be heard from three courts away. It is impressive. She has the most powerful swing I have ever seen in a 12-year-old.”

Cripe is an outside hitter for the Boiler Juniors, but she plays all six-rotation positions during the game. Taylor’s mother, Emily, was an assistant coach for the club team.