Columbus East volleyball coach Stacie Pagnard said it felt like the Olympians were on a roller coaster during the North-South Volleyball Invitational on Saturday.
The host Olympians lost their first match to Noblesville 25-23, 25-17, 25-20 before falling to Hamilton Southeastern 25-11, 25-11, 23-25, 25-17.
Pagnard said her players showed some bright spots, especially during the third set against the Royals.
“We kept the ball in play, we defended well and we served well,” Pagnard said. “Those are two things we can control no matter who we’re playing, and so I think that was good. When you control the first ball, whether it’s the serve or the pass, you’re in control of the match.”
Story continues below gallery
Hamilton Southeastern took the momentum from the start by jumping out to a 17-7 lead in the first set. East could only string together four more points before the Royals finished off the set.
Hamilton Southeastern picked up where it left off in the second set by taking the first eight points to put the Olympians into another big hole. East failed to get anything going during the second set, but something clicked for the Olympians in the third.
East started the third set with a 7-6 lead before the Royals regained the lead at 14-13. The Olympians scored four consecutive points to create a little distance at 17-14, which was just enough to hold off Hamilton Southeastern off to take the set by two points.
East took some momentum back, but could not keep it going into the fourth set. The Royals got off to another early lead, and the Olympians were forced to play catch up once again.
“I would like to see that competitiveness be our consistent point,” Pagnard said. “Sometimes, it’s the curse of our youth, and I think that we’re learning to battle that. I’d like to say that we’re learning strides in that department. To take a set off of HSE, they’re one of the top teams in the state. You see what we’re capable of, but then you also follow that up with the performance in set four.”
C.J. Clausen led East with a combined 17 kills and four blocks in the two matches. Allison Mack had 14 kills and a team-high three aces.
Kendal Williams recorded 35 assists. Both Mack and Emily Banister finished with 20 digs, and Ashlynn Bergman notched 16 digs and two aces.