NORTH VERNON — The Columbus East volleyball team bounced back from dropping all four matches in Saturday’s Yorktown Tournament by beating Jennings County on the road Tuesday night.
Olympians coach Stacie Pagnard said she was really proud of how her players took what they worked on in practice Monday and used it in a game situation in the 25-9, 25-17, 25-17 Hoosier Hills Conference victory.
“We’re still learning,” Pagnard said. “When you play a pretty tough schedule, which is designed on purpose, we may not have the best win-loss record but we have the best growth overall. I guarantee it. From the start of the year from the end of the year, we’ll improve 100 percent. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”
East (3-5, 3-0) got an early jump on the Panthers (1-9, 0-4), jumping out to a 11-4 lead in the first set. The Olympians took over the set by scoring the last 11 points for the 25-9 victory.
Jennings kept it closer in the second set. The Olympians had a 22-17 lead on before scoring the final three points.
Pagnard mentioned after the East season-opening loss against Bloomington North how the Olympians’ inexperience caused them to blow big leads in that match. She said they did a much better job handling the lead against the Panthers.
“We broke it down, and each kid has a role,” Pagnard said. “I think they know their role, and it’s not to be a hero and win the game in one point. I think that when we all realize our role, that’s the outcome you see versus (the outcome) against Bloomington North.”
The third set played out almost the same way as the second, with East leading 23-17 before scoring the final two points to take the match.
Kendal Williams led the Olympians with 35 assists, one block and four aces. Rilee Jessee added three aces.
C.J. Clausen led the team in kills with 12, and Jessee had 10. Ashlyn Perry finished with 17 digs, and Emily Banister added 9.
This was the first game for Jennings with its new lineup, and Panthers coach Blakli Nading said it’s working. She would just like to see more energy out of her team.
“We have to get more fight and intensity overall as a whole,” Nading said. “I’ve got glimpses of it with certain players, but I need them all to be intense and get into it a little bit more. Even the girls on the bench, I just need more out of all of them.”
Nading said the players did make smarter plays than what they normally made in the past, which she was pleased with, and will be looking to build on as the season progresses.
Jennings’ Mary Leahigh had a team high three kills and three blocks. Chandler Turner finished with two blocks, and Sydney Holt served five aces.