"I was kind of worried about getting trampled. But who cares? We just won," said Vernon of the rush of North Summit students at the end of the game and protecting her knee — still in a brace.
Vernon and senior middle Ashlin Blonquist started hot in the championship and were the primary movers for the Braves after the setback in the second set.
"Of course, the two kids that jump out of the gym and hit the ball hard," said South Summit coach Dallas Gines, regarding North Summit's greatest strength.
South Summit (16-12), which defeated Delta in a semifinal earlier in the day, was led by Samantha Rogers' dozen kills. The Wildcats trailed 22-19 late in the second before scoring four points in a row.
Consecutive kills by Elise Bush and Rogers broke a 24-all tie and evened the match at one set each.
The Summits were still neck-and-neck in the third set, with South Summit leading 8-7, when the 'Cats suddenly collapsed — registering only one more point the rest of the game.
North Summit, on the verge of winning the match, trailed 20-19 in the fourth when Vernon got three kills in a row — the last one smoked from the left side to put the Braves up by two points.
At 24-22 in the fourth, Vernon and teammate Megan Richins combined for a block and triggered a frenzied celebration from the North Summit supporters.
"It feels amazing to finally have a good season-ending," said Blonquist, who led all players, with 24 kills.
The Braves settled an old score in the semifinal round by beating an Enterprise team that knocked them out in the same round a year before.
"When some of our players weren't playing their best, others stepped up. It was great," said North Summit coach Samantha Stephens, in her 12th year as the Braves' leader.
"It's awesome. We've never played for a state championship or won one. It means a lot," Stephens said. "It's time."