Olympians rally for 5-set win

On Tuesday night the Columbus East volleyball team found itself in a familiar spot, down two sets to zero to visiting Madison.

Coming out the aggressor, the Cubs seemed poised to finish off the Olympians in the third set. Much like it has throughout the season, East flipped a switch and became the aggressor, battling back to win the Hoosier Hills Conference match 16-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-14, 15-9.

“We have got to work on that attack mentality from the start,” East coach Stacie Pagnard said. “To Madison’s credit, they came out, and they were very aggressive. I think sometimes when we get attacked, we have a tendency to say ‘whoa’ instead of flipping the switch immediately and fighting back. That’s something we just have to work on.”

Losing the first two set convincingly, the Olympians (8-20) traded points with the Cubs early in the third. East took its first lead of the match at 5-4 and never looked back winning the set 25-21.

From then on, the Olympians captured the momentum and became the aggressors, putting Madison on its heels. East jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the fourth set. The Cubs crawled back, closing the gap to three at 16-13 before the Olympians put the clamps down 25-19, sending the match to a fifth and decisive set.

“We had that ‘go get em’ attitude, and we wanted to put them off balance,” senior setter Kendal Williams said. “We put grit into our defense, and that’s exactly how we won that game.”

Grit would perfectly describe the fifth and final set for East, which stormed out to a 13-3 lead. The Cubs wouldn’t go quietly, battling back to make the set interesting after putting together a 5-0 run. The run wouldn’t be enough though, as the Olympians put the cherry on top of a comeback win.

East was led by Allison Mack’s 16 kills and four aces, while Emily Banister contributed 23 digs. Williams chipped in 20 assists, and C.J. Clausen had four blocks.

With one game remaining in their regular season, the mindset stays the same, according to Williams.

“Our focus is about our team play,” Williams said. “It’s about one step at a time, one point at a time. That’s what our focus has been all year and that’s how we are going to come into the sectional.”