Muncie Central Athletics
Information about the 1974 and 1975 Northside High School state championship
volleyball teams’ recognition and banner celebration!
November 29, 2014
Place: Muncie Fieldhouse
Time of recognition:
Between JV and Varsity Muncie Central/Yorktown basketball game
In 1974, the Muncie Northside girls’ volleyball team brought
to Delaware County its first state championship in any girls’ sport. At that time, the IHSAA held a single class
tournament in girls’ volleyball. Northside
defeated South Bend Riley in the final match, finishing their season with a
perfect 22-0 record. Their coach, Debbie Millbern, was only 23-years-old. Debbie was a 1973 Indiana University
graduate who had led the women’s basketball team to IU’s only women’s Final
In 1975, the Northside Titan girls faced an unprecedented
challenge in defending their state title.
School had allowed two high school boys on their
girls’ volleyball team. These boys were 6’2” tall, and one was a Junior Olympic
player. The tallest girl on Northside’s
team was 5’8”. Amid protests and court
injunctions, the IHSAA allowed the boys to play, and the matches were played on
a court using the girls’ shorter net.
Northside faced South Bend Clay and the boys in the state championship
final match. Covered nationally by
sports journalists and mentioned in Sports
Illustrated, the mighty-mite Northside Titans defeated South Bend Clay and
the boys in a raucous, feminist-fueled final match that went the full three
games and was won by a scant two points.
The girls finished the season with a 25-1 record, and were the first
school in Indiana
volleyball history to win back-to-back state titles. The IHSAA later passed a resolution
prohibiting boys from playing on girls’ teams, making the 1975 state
championship a unique, unparalleled victory for girls in IHSAA sports history. These
girls not only initiated the tradition of outstanding volleyball in Delaware County, but triumphed against
Many players on the 1974/1975 teams were among the first
girls in the state of Indiana
to earn athletic scholarships to play sports in college. Members of the 1974/1975 teams being honored are: Elizabeth Albright Engelking, Jane Amlin
Weaver, Barb Cass Burgauer, Cindy DeWitt, Debbie DeWitt Disney, Joni Ewing
Newman, Carole Hagen Barry, Perri Hankins, Polly Hankins Riddell, Tricia Liston
Kitchell, Sandy Lounsbury, Melissa Meredith, Cindy Parker Nestel, Sandy
Schneiter, Christy Wagner Huhn, Shelley Walker Ahlersmeyer, and Perri Williams
After her stint at Northside, Debbie Millbern Powers went on
to become the head women’s basketball coach at Ball State. She recently published her memoir recounting
her experiences as a female athlete growing up in Indiana
and as a coach at Muncie
School. Meeting Her Match: The Story of a Female
Athlete-Coach, Before and After Title IX,
Debbie takes readers on a heartfelt and entertaining journey that culminates
with the 1975 volleyball team’s victory.
Her story is not only a real-life history lesson about the evolution of
women’s sports, but her themes of determination, perseverance, and hope will
inspire all athletes. Meeting Her Match was recently awarded First Place in the
2014 Royal Palm Literary competition. Powers will have a book-signing at
Concannon’s Café & Coffee Bar on Baker
Lane on Friday, November 28, 2014 from 11 a.m.
until 3 p.m.