Cougars sweep Bull Dogs in opener

SHELBYVILLE — A young Columbus North volleyball team never could get on a scoring run Thursday night and saw its season come to an end.

Bloomington North stymied the Bull Dogs every chance they had at gaining any momentum. As a result, the Cougars posted a 25-15, 25-13, 25-15 sweep in the opening round of the Shelbyville Sectional.

The Cougars (21-10) move on to Saturday’s 11 a.m. semifinals to face Columbus East, which advanced with a straight-set win against Bloomington South in Thursday’s nightcap. The championship match will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The longest run the Bull Dogs (10-22) put together Thursday came in the opening set when they scored four in a row to cut a 9-3 deficit to 9-7. But then after an exchange of points made it 10-8, the Cougars went on an 11-1 run to take control.

“That’s been our problem all season — giving away long stretches of points, and that held true tonight, too,” North coach Caitlin Greiner said. “We weren’t ready to play from the get-go.”

Bloomington North jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second set. The Bull Dogs were within 13-9 before the Cougars ran off six in a row.

In the third set, the Bull Dogs stayed within three to six points most of the way before the Cougars scored the final four points to put it away.

“In the beginning, they started out doing some tips and rolls, and we weren’t ready for them,” Greiner said. “Then, we adjusted, and they started hitting a little harder. Bloomington North fired back at us, and they executed well and they had less unforced errors than us and we just couldn’t push back.”

Avery Wendel recorded seven kills and 11 digs, and Hannah McKinney had 12 assists and an ace to lead the Bull Dogs. Maliah Howard-Bass pounded seven kills, Imani Guy notched four blocks and Augustina Fainguersch served an ace.

Also for the Bull Dogs, Fainguersch posted three kills, Howard Bass recorded five assists and Hannah Weaver had two blocks. McKinney and Mackenzie Rooks each notched six digs.

The Bull Dogs started three juniors and one freshman — Fainguersch — and a second freshman — Maddy Sebahar — saw extensive action.

“We have a lot of younger talent coming up,” Greiner said. “We have a solid junior class, we have a solid sophomore class and we have some really talented freshmen who have some good potential and even some eighth-graders moving in next year, too. It’s about moving forward, learning from each season, learning from each match, learning from each practice and just continuing to build what we want Columbus North volleyball to be.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.