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NORTH VERNON — The Columbus North volleyball team knew the Jennings County Quad Tournament was going to be a challenge.
An early 25-15, 20-25, 19-17 win against Southwestern (Shelby) was a good start for the Bull Dogs, but falling in straight sets to Jennings County 25-17, 25-15 was not what North had in mind.
Bull Dogs coach Caitlin Greiner said the team wasn’t as awake as they should’ve been in the first two matches.
“We let (Southwestern) make a comeback,” Greiner said. “We made several unforced errors and our flat play carried over to the next match.”
Junior Karen Wildemann said the team wasn’t as focused as it would’ve liked to be.
“During the first game we started out really strong, but we let go towards the end,” Wildemann said. “We had a lot of energy against Jennings County, but we weren’t able to pull out some points when we needed them.”
North (6-5) improved upon its loss to the Panthers with an intense offensive attack against Ben Davis, blasting through the Giants 25-20, 25-20.
The Bull Dogs created opportunities early, scoring on the first six points of the final set to put them in a comfortable position.
Greiner said the team’s confidence rose as they played Ben Davis, which was led by 6-foot-4 Danielle Cuttino in the front.
“My girls did a very good job at serving around the defenders,” Greiner said. “Our setters did a great job at making moves and keeping the ball away from their best hitter.”
Junior Makinsey Summa said the team needs to start strong in order to create better chances to win.
“We need to be able to communicate better,” Summa said. “We need to begin a meet like this with strong hits and finish stronger.”
Summa led the Bull Dogs with 16 kills, while junior Janelle Peters hit 13 kills. Wildemann finished the tournament hitting six aces, followed by junior Alexa Pelley with five.
Wildemann also had 46 assists, while junior Hanna Vittorio provided 34 digs, and sophomore Avery Wendel had three blocks.
Jennings County’s offensive pressure started early, defeating the Giants 26-24, 29-27 before defeating the Bull Dogs and winning in straight sets in their final match against Southwestern 25-16, 25-19.
Panthers coach Susan Kinney said defense was what kept the team focused and working together.
“Everybody was just reacting,” Kinney said. “That was some of the best defense we had today.”
Senior Dani Kirchner, who led the Panthers with 39 digs, said the focus the team had was one of its biggest improvements this season.
“We really worked as a team today,” Kirchner said. “We’ve been focusing lately on being a bigger, stronger team and it showed.”
Senior Emily Ertel hit 20 kills while recording 21 digs and three assists for the tournament. Kyleigh Nelson had 15 kills and 36 assists. Kyla Ortleib led the Panthers in blocks with nine.
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