HOPE — Senior Lauren Gross took hold of the sectional championship volleyball trophy on Saturday night, turned to Hauser’s rooting section in her home gymnasium and thrust it as high as her 6-foot-2 frame would allow.
She had just spent the better part of an hour taking sets from longtime teammate and fellow senior Mikala Greenlee and spiking rockets between South Decatur’s players.
Of course, Gross had plenty of help on a night that Class A Hauser (26-8) won the title game over a young Cougars’ squad 25-13, 25-16, 25-18.
Now it was time to celebrate the third sectional title for the outgoing senior group of Gross, Greenlee, Makayla Knight and Paige Miller. They were locked in a group hug that would last well into the night.
“We’re coming to the end of an era,” said Hauser coach Jeff Case, whose No. 8-ranked team now will host regional action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against No. 2 Indianapolis Lutheran. “This means a lot. It’s the fourth sectional title in the history of Hauser volleyball. That’s a big deal.”
Obviously, Hauser’s seniors know their high school careers quickly are coming to an end. “This is awesome,” said Greenlee, who had 20 assists and four aces against South Decatur. “But we were friends before volleyball, and will still will be friends after volleyball. It will be weird, though, after it is over.”
“It’s been fun to make it what it is,” said Miller, who had 11 assists on Saturday. “It’s great to be able to say we won it again.”
Knight looked at Gross holding the trophy. “It’s been great to be part of all these sectionals,” she said. “We have three of them now.”
Gross said that a lot of effort went into Saturday night’s celebration. “This is exciting, but we’ve worked really hard for this,” she said. “We have practiced hard.
“It’s been a blast. I’ve enjoyed every minute.”
Across the way, the Cougars had to accept the runner-up trophy and be satisfied with the fact that, with only senior Sarah Sweet graduating, they will be a force next season. “You bet,” South Decatur coach Lisa Bennett said. “We have great potential. We are disappointed with the loss and we struggled in all kinds of areas.
“It stinks for our one senior, but we know we have next year. We have grown a lot.”
Cougars’ junior Ashley Johannigman took the loss especially hard, somewhat distraught that her team couldn’t come closer to the talented Jets. Johannigman and Julia Miller tried to put together enough kills to stay in the match, but Hauser simply had too much experience and too much talent.
They also had too much Lauren Gross.
“She’s an amazing hitter and she’s great,” Bennett said. “But you are only as great as your team.”
The Jets worked together like a machine to allow Gross to pound the ball to the floor. She flattened a volleyball for the first point of the night and went ahead to register 17 kills along with some dink points. Hauser junior Haley Webster, who had 10 kills, also was a force at the net when the Jets wanted someone else to put the ball away.
At times, Greenlee would dink a few point winners over the net just to give her hitters a rest.
Hauser freshman Danielle Giles set a team digs record with 389 for the season, breaking the record of 382 held by Amy Pope (2004) and Baili Roth (2008).
“Our effort has been amazing,” Case said.
Hauser defeated Jac-Cen-Del 25-4, 25-10, 25-11 to reach the final. South Decatur beat Oldenburg to get to the title game.
Seymour wins Sectional
SEYMOUR — Despite 13 kills by Emily Ertel and Emma Campbell, the Jennings County volleyball season came to an end with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-22 loss to Bedford North Lawrence on Saturday at the Seymour Sectional.
Megan Kelsay had 18 assists and Lucy Hearne added 15 assists for Jennings County while Mariah Kinney and Kyleigh Nelson each had two blocks, Dani Kirchner had 15 digs and Megan Kelsay had nine digs.
Megan Kelsay, Ertel and Kyleigh Nelson each had two aces.
Bedford North Lawrence eventually lost to Seymour in the title game, 25-8, 25-13, 25-16.
Seymour won its semifinal match against No. 13 Floyd Central 25-22, 14-25, 25-23, 25-18.
Seymour built an 18-9 lead in the first set before Floyd Central pulled within 18-14 and then 21-19. The teams traded points the rest of the way until Abby Speer laid down a kill for set point.
Floyd Central was the more aggressive team in the second set, building leads of 5-1 and 17-7, and Seymour couldn’t recover.
Blocking was big for Seymour in the third set. The Owls’ second one gave them a 12-5 advantage, and Speer had two blocks late in the set to help her team take a 2-1 match lead.
Audrey Speer’s tip in the fourth set broke a 5-all score, and Seymour managed to maintain the lead the rest of the way.
Other sectional scores
Columbus North lost its semifinal match of the Bloomington South Sectional 25-14, 25-15, 25-6 to Shelbyville, which lost to Columbus East in the Sectional title match ... Trinity Lutheran won the Orleans Sectional with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 victory over Orleans in the semifinal match and a 25-10, 25-17, 25-12 victory over Springs Valley in the championship match at Orleans High School. ... Browns County beat South Vermillion 25-14, 25-7, 25-13 but lost to Edgewood 25-22, 25-23, 25-14 in the Owen Valley Sectional title match.
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