EDINBURGH — Moving to a different sectional this season, Trinity Lutheran’s volleyball team still came out on top.
Having won three straight Class A Sectional 61 titles, the Cougars captured their first one playing in Sectional 62 on Saturday night, defeating West Washington 25-18, 25-16, 25-16.
Trinity (21-13) reached the championship by defeating host Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon 25-13, 25-19, 25-13. For Cougars coach Chelsea Stroub, this was her third sectional title.
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“It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling every single time. It’s exciting,” she said. “Obviously, we have some stuff to work on before next week, but overall, we played really well. We played really well together.”
In the title tilt, West Washington battled early on, forcing the seventh tie of the first set on a kill. The Senators then had a serving error, and Trinity went on to build a 13-8 lead and stayed in front.
The second set was tied at 8 when Trinity’s Abby Schult had a block to kick off a 6-0 run and force a West Washington timeout. Sydney Jaynes came on strong late with four kills to help finish off the set.
Then in the third set, a Senators passing error broke a 7-all score, and the Cougars remained on top to close out the match.
Going from the afternoon match to the championship, Stroub said the key was for the Cougars to keep their tempo.
“Because at the beginning of that game, (the Senators) were playing, too, so we started playing slower, and that gets us out of our game whenever we have to play slower,” she said. “We’re working on keeping our tempo the whole game and just cutting down on our errors.”
Trinity moves to Saturday’s Loogootee Regional, where it will face Barr-Reeve in the semifinals. The Cougars defeated the Vikings in a tournament earlier in the season.
“We’re just going to have to cut down on our errors,” Stroub said. “That’s a lot of it. We’re not really worried about who’s on the other side because if we can play our game, I’ll put our team up against anybody. I truly would. If we just play our game, I think we’ll be fine.”
In the semifinals, Trinity and Edinburgh met for the second Saturday in a row. The week before, the Cougars defeated the Lancers in two sets in the Edinburgh Tournament.
In the first set of the sectional match, Trinity built an 8-1 lead and never trailed the rest of the way.
The second set was a different story. The score was tied nine times with neither team pulling ahead by more than two points. Edinburgh’s Taylor Tatlock scored her fourth point of the set to make it 11-11. Schult then had a kill on an overpass, and the Cougars maintained the lead from there.
“I think we had some defensive play out of Emily Chappelow that really helped us,” Lancers coach Tina Bottorff said. “She stepped up, and it made a difference on the right side, and I think that our defensive play stepped up quite a bit in that second set.”
With the score tied at 7 in the third set, Trinity had three kills and a block by Hannah Sabotin, a kill by Schult and an ace from Ashley Goecker to create some separation. The Cougars cruised from there.
“We stayed with them for a while,” Bottorff said of the third set. “Trinity is just a great, solid, solid club, so we give a lot of respect to them. We played pretty well. I’m not completely disappointed with our play. I know we’re a young team, so we look forward to getting everybody back next year and using this to motivate us to get better.”
Edinburgh (9-23) did not have any seniors.