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BLOOMINGTON — The most recent time the Columbus North volleyball team played a game on the Bloomington South court, setter Quin Shoultz left the game in a heap of pain after spraining her ankle, and the Bull Dogs lost to the host Panthers.
Thursday night, Shoultz and her North teammates left Bloomington South in a much better mental and physical state. The Bull Dogs prevailed after rallying from an early deficit to claim a 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20 win against East Central in the opening round of the Bloomington South Sectional.
“It’s amazing,” said Shoultz, the team’s lone senior, who recorded 31 assists. “I was definitely ready to get back on the court and finish the whole game.”
North (10-24) advances to play Class 4A No. 8 Shelbyville, which swept Bloomington South in Thursday’s opener, in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday. Class 4A No. 3 Columbus East plays Bloomington North in the second semifinal at around 12:30 p.m., and the championship match is scheduled for 7 p.m.
At 5-foot-10, Shoultz and sophomore Makinsey Summa, who had 13 kills and four blocks, are the Bull Dogs’ tallest players. So they used an offense that mixed in dinks, tips and powerful kills.
“We were trying to be smart with the ball,” Shoultz said. “We tried to get a hit here and there, a tip here and there, just mix it up.”
“We aren’t the tallest team, but the great thing about us is that we’re athletic, and we’re quick and we see the court well,” North coach Caitlin Greiner said.
“The girls do a nice job of listening to the coaches telling them where the open spots are, and they do a nice job of executing, especially tonight. They listened very well to the information we were feeding them during the match.”
East Central jumped out to a 7-2 lead in Game 1. The Bull Dogs rallied to take a 17-16 lead before the Trojans closed it out to take a one-game lead.
East Central led 15-11 in Game 2 before North scored six in a row to take the lead. The Trojans recovered for a 23-22 lead, but the Bull Dogs scored three straight to end it, capped by a Summa kill.
“We’re a young team, so just getting those jitters out — a lot of them had never been in a sectional setting before, and we were right there next and neck,” Greiner said. “We held our own, and we carried through and we took control after that second game and we just kind of ran with it.”
“We were still in it,” Shoultz said. “We just had to be calm, relaxed and play our game and get back into it. I was confident in my team.”
North trailed 2-1 in the Game 3 before running off eight in a row, the last seven with Shoultz at the service line. The Bull Dogs built the lead to 22-10 and held on from there, with Hayley McMahan ending it with a kill.
North jumped out to a 10-3 lead in Game 4, and the lead stayed between three and seven the rest of the way.
Janelle Peters pounded nine kills, and Devon Roese served two aces for the Bull Dogs. Alexa Pelley had 21 digs, and Karen Wildemann added 14.
“I’m very, very pleased with all my girls,” Greiner said. “They executed our game plan, and they all came out ready to go.”
The North-Shelbyville game will be a rematch of the season-opener, which the Golden Bears won in three games.
“I think we’re going to be ready, and we’re going to give them a fight,” Shoultz said.
Owls topple New Albany
SEYMOUR — When Seymour and New Albany meet on the volleyball court, fans of the schools have come to expect a highly competitive match.
Thursday night’s battle in the Class 4A Sectional 15 at Seymour didn’t disappoint. The No. 10 Owls won, 25-12, 24-26, 25-23, 25-19, to advance to Saturday’s semifinal against No. 13 Floyd Central.
Seymour started out strong in the first set. Chandler Clark served a pair of aces to make it 2-0; a kill by Hayden Dailey set the score at 5-0, and a kill by Megan Kimbley increased Seymour’s lead to 9-2.
Michelle Hoene, Dailey, Clark and Abby Speer came up with strong kills to help the Owls extend their lead, and Kimbley had kills on the final two points of the set.
“Good teams are going to come back hard, and that is exactly what New Albany did,” Owls coach Angie Lucas said.
The Owls broke a 2-2 tie in the second set with a string of six-straight points, but the Bulldogs rallied back to cut its deficit to 11-10. Seymour led 23-20 on a block by Jessica Lucas before New Albany scored four-straight points. The score was tied at 24 before the Bulldogs scored the final two points.
The Owls trailed 21-18 in the third set when Lucas called a timeout. Seymour rallied to even the score at 22, and then Kimbley had an attack for a 23-22 lead. Set point came as a result of New Albany hitting out of bounds.
“I really challenged a couple of the players pretty hard in the timeout huddle and asked them to step up, and they did, and it was great to see them quit making the mistakes that they were making,” Lucas said.
Seymour jumped on top 7-3 in the fourth set on a block by Kimbley. New Albany tied the score at 7 and stayed close at 13-12 before kills by Dailey and Speer helped the Owls increase their lead. Kimbley had a kill for match point.
Kimbley was 37 for 41 in hitting with 14 kills, and Dailey had 11 kills.
The Bulldogs had six attacking errors in the first set and several others in the final three sets.
“We were trying to take away their lines, but we learned in practice that whenever their hitters hit, to cut them in half, so it channeled them to hit where our defense was,” Kimbley said.
“In the first, third and fourth games, our blocking was huge. In the second game, it wasn’t too hot, but whenever we block, the hits go straight to our defense.”
Cougars slip past Tigers
ORLEANS — Two volleyball teams that are familiar with one another squared off in the second match of the Class A Sectional 61 on Thursday at Orleans.
Crothersville and Trinity Lutheran met a couple of times this season, and No. 5 Trinity won both meetings.
In the sectional match, the Cougars came out on top again, winning, 25-14, 25-15, 23-25, 25-23, to end the Tigers’ season at 17-8.
The Cougars (29-4) advance to Saturday’s semifinals and at 11 a.m. will play Orleans, a three-set winner against West Washington in Thursday’s first match.
“The first two games were not that bad, but those last two were tough,” Cougars coach Chelsey Hackman said. “I then asked the girls to play the game that we have been teaching them, and they responded.
“The first two games, we came out here wanting to win and came out there knowing we had to do everything right, and we did for the most part. We talked, we passed well and we did a lot of the right things.”
The Cougars opened with a 3-0 lead in the first set and never looked back.
Trinity jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set behind the serving of Mallory Barker. Jessica Schmelzle brought Crothersville back with two straight service points to make it 4-3. The Cougars then pulled away, leading 14-8 on Kyra Klosterman’s ace.
For the first time all night, in the third set, Crothersville had the early lead. The set went back-and-forth until the Tigers broke a 7-all tie with two straight serves by Becca Hensley. The Cougars came back with two points and eventually took a 13-12 lead.
The Tigers wouldn’t go away, as they rallied for a 17-15 lead. The Cougars evened the score at 17 before the Tigers had a 21-20 lead, but a miscommunication error gave the Cougars a 22-21 lead.
A service ace gave the Tigers a 23-22 edge. A Cougars attack went out of bounds, and Chandler Nehrt delivered a kill for the win.
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