Columbus East came into Wednesday night’s volleyball contest hoping to earn a least a share of the Hoosier Hills Conference title.

Visiting Floyd Central played spoiler.

After the teams were deadlocked after four sets, the Highlanders got the extra push necessary in the fifth set to hand the Olympians a 25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 24-26, 15-12 loss.

“We made the hard plays, but it felt like we couldn’t make the easy ones,” East coach Stacie Pagnard said. “Especially in Game 5 with simple soft shots we should have picked up on. We didn’t, and I think that was a big difference.”

For the Olympians, Kendal Williams recorded 43 assists and also added two aces. Cortney VanLiew finished with 21 kills and two blocks. Bailey Western had 15 kills and five blocks.

Brooke Banister notched 20 digs, while Seena Greiwe had 11 digs and Alaysha Pollert added 10 digs. Allison Mack served two aces.

Following the conclusion of the match, Floyd Central coach Bart Powell shared a few words with VanLiew. VanLiew has committed to play at Florida Gulf Coast.

“She is such a great competitor,” Powell said. “I’ve coached for 31 years and have seen many girls go through the Columbus East program, and she is definitely one of the top ones without question.”

The Olympians (19-10, 5-2) will take many lessons learned from the loss as they get their final preparations in for sectional play next week.

“We stepped up when we needed to but came up short in the end,” VanLiew said. “You may not realize it, but we did a lot of good things. We are playing some of our best volleyball this season, and hopefully will take this momentum and go into Saturday (at Carmel Invitational) and play very hard and also during sectional, when it really matters.”

Pollert said the Olympians have to put in the extra work if they want to advance far in the state tournament.

“It shows we have to work a lot harder in practice,” Pollert said. “We are giving it our all in practice, but we just have to give a little bit more each time we do.”