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Serving leads Olympians past Jennings County in volleyball

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During Columbus East’s 25-18, 25-9, 25-6 Hoosier Hills Conference win against visiting Jennings County on Tuesday night, many contributing factors led to the Olympians’ success.

Serving was definitely at the top.

After keeping things close in the first set with the Panthers, East came out strong, going on a 10-1 run which was led by sophomore Alaysha Pollert’s brilliant serving.

After Jennings slowly crept back, Olympians sophomore outside hitter Seena Greiwe made her presence felt, scoring off six service points, including an ace, to give East a 20-5 lead and eventually win the set.

The Olympians (7-0, 1-0), ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, didn’t stop there. Senior Ashlyn Robbins, who led the team with 17 digs and also had an ace, got East off to a 5-0 start in the third set.

They didn’t look back after that, with Greiwe scoring five points off serving, tallying another ace to help the Olympians lock up the win.

“She is usually a junior varsity player for us,” East coach Faith Wilder-Newland said of Greiwe. “She really contributed and stepped up for us today.”

Greiwe finished with two aces and 11 service points.

“We just had to relax,” Greiwe said. “We were able to calm down by the second and third sets and were able to finish strong.”

Cortney VanLiew led the Olympians with 14 kills, while also having 11 digs. Bailey Western and Katie Mack each had seven kills and two blocks.

Wilder-Newland said the early errors needed to be avoided.

“We always get high strung at the beginning,” Wilder-Newland said. “We had too many errors early on and tried to do too much, which was frustrating. Once we calmed down, we got to the net and delivered the ball real well.”

Mack said getting momentum-shifting plays gave East the edge.

“Getting those runs creates momentum we need to get through the game,” Mack said. “It’s good to get those runs because it keeps us calm and helps us create bigger opportunities.”

Jennings coach Susan Kinney said costly errors hurt the Panthers (1-8, 0-3) throughout the match.

“We were intense the first game,” Kinney said. “It was probably the best set we have played all season. We have to be able to start and finish strong though in order to succeed.”

Denza Simpson had three kills with 11 digs, while Addie Skelton also had three kills along with one block for Jennings. Carissa Kinney had 11 assists, while Rayann Mull led the squad with seven digs. Lyndsay Miller had three kills.

Skelton said the Panthers need to stay consistent throughout the game in order to be successful.

“We played real well the first game but got too caught up and down on ourselves by the end,” Scranton said. “We need to talk more to each other because toward the end we just weren’t able to focus.”

“We need to come in practice and have fun,” Kinney said. “We have to communicate and talk more, because we don’t really have anything easy on our schedule.”

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