Jets sweep Panthers in season opener

NORTH VERNON — Hauser volleyball lost a big portion of its firepower from last season’s Class A state runner-up team to graduation, but Tuesday’s season opener at Jennings County showed the Jets still have some talent remaining.

Hauser started the season on a high note after beating the Panthers 25-17, 25-19, 25-19. Outside hitter Kylie Lock said the Jets impressed some people by playing as well as they did after losing five seniors.

“Everybody out there was telling me that we did really well, and they didn’t expect that,” Lock said. “It makes us feel good as a team because we don’t expect that from people, but it’s good that we impress people.”

Hauser had to come from behind in the second set after never trailing in the first. Jennings scored six consecutive points to go up 11-5 and stretched that lead to 16-9 before the Jets rallied back and scored 11 straight points to take a 20-16 lead on their way to winning the set.

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Jennings coach Blakli Hukill said she liked the fight the Panthers showed at times, especially senior Karlee Madinger. However, Hukill felt defeated whenever her players let Hauser inch their way back, she said.

“We were killing it, and then we let (Hauser) take over,” Hukill said of the second set. “That’s the team I know because we just build our confidence up, but then we just let them take us down and let them kind of crumble us when we know better.”

Hanah Bertram led the Panthers with 14 digs while Abi Vogel had a team-high six kills and three blocks. Madinger served three aces.

Hannah Johnson led the Jets with 11 kills and two blocks. Shelby Fugate had nine kills, and Lock added seven kills. Fugate also served four aces. Melanie Taylor had 17 digs, and setter Aunaka Wasil finished with 26 assists for Hauser.

Jets coach Jeff Case said his team is still work in progress, but there was a lot to like out of his squad in its first game of the season.

“I’m encouraged (about this season), Case said. “I’m a little concerned about our youth, but I’m extremely encouraged and they’re very coachable. It’s a fun team to coach. They really listen and work hard.”