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BLOOMINGTON — A solid hitting performance by Carly Robertson and giant rallies created by excellent serving sparked the 4A No. 10-ranked Columbus East volleyball team to a Bloomington North Sectional title Saturday night.
East (24-12) downed its rival, Columbus North, 25-11, 25-11, 25-22.
East coach Faith Wilder-Newland praised the team’s strong hitting but said the game was controlled by the serving.
“We had to serve aggressively,” Wilder-Newland said. “We needed to create big rallies and shut down their
After a back and forth beginning of the first set, East was able to provide a giant rally, scoring eight consecutive points led by Robertson’s key hits to gain momentum.
The second set was just as dominant by the Olympians, who scored nine consecutive points to open the set, slowly diminishing the Bull Dogs’ hopes for any momentum.
The Bull Dogs, who shocked Bloomington South in three sets earlier in the day to reach the final, provided a hint of hope in the final set of the match, led by the serving attack of Devon Roese.
But the Olympians simply outmatched North in the end game to put the match away.
Wilder-Newland said her team lost its composure early in the final set, but managed to regain focus.
“For the first two sets we handled the ball well,” Wilder-Newland said. “We lost focus for a little while in the third set, but we bounced back.”
Bull Dogs coach Caitlin Greiner said her team’s progression through the season was what got them to the finals.
“We improve every day, every match,” Greiner said. “We have a strong group of girls that are ready to play every day.”
With a season that had its highs and lows, Greiner said the team managed to keep its focus and now is determined to accomplish bigger things.
“We progressed with each game we played, and I couldn’t be more proud of my team’s performance this season.” Greiner said.
With all but one player returning next season, the expectations for Columbus North are high.
“We have girls ready to step up and ready to take their role as team leaders,” Greiner said. “We’re really excited to see what next season brings us.”
Roese, who was the lone senior on the Bull Dogs’ squad, said the team’s mentality this season stayed strong through the good and the bad moments.
“Putting what you practice into every game isn’t easy,” Roese said. “Our team made that happen each game, and took advantage of our opportunities that were given to us.”
As for Columbus East, they will continue the postseason run in the first round of the regional at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Center Grove.
Robertson, who led the Olympians with 13 kills against the Bull Dogs, said that to get through Center Grove, the Olympians will have to play like they did the first two sets against North.
“We’re hoping to stay
aggressive with our serves like we did against North,” Robertson said. “Our main objective is to stay focused and do what needs to be done.”
Wilder Newland said she expects nothing but a solid performance from East going into Tuesday.
“The regionals are a different animal,” she said. “It’s a big boost for our team, and it’s a nice feeling. We just have to focus and play our best.”
Earlier in the day, the Bull Dogs had put together their best performance of the season to shock Bloomington South 25-22, 25-16, 25-20.
Greiner was thrilled about her team’s energy and effort.
“We came out with high energy today,” Greiner said. “One of main things was to keep the energy the entire time and we were real focused and we played really well. We executed the game flawlessly.”
Junior Janelle Peters had nine digs, nine kills and two aces.
“The whole team stepped up their game today,” Peters said. “It all came together and it worked out great.”
Down in the first set 17-13, the Bull Dogs went on a 7-0 run on their way to a 25-22 set win. In the second set, the Bull Dogs kept the momentum going with an 11-3 to start and went on cruise control from that point on to win 25-16. In the third set, the momentum carried over as they built a 14-5 lead.
North ended the season 13-21.
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