OXFORD — Not all great stories have a great ending. The Crawfordsville Athenian Volleyball team left it all out on the court Saturday as they fell just short of a sectional title in a 3-1 (18-25, 12-25, 25-22, 21-25) loss to host Benton Central.
The Athenians finished the season with a 25-5 record which was their most wins in a season since 2013 (22).
“We never gave up for one-minute tonight,” coach Kelly Johnson said. “We could’ve laid down and died after that second set, but we didn’t. When we were in a timeout, I told the girls ‘you are not going down like this. You know you’re capable of winning this third set’ and that’s what they were able to do.”
The Athenians defeated the Bison 3-1 on Aug. 31, however Johnson knew Saturday would be different and that the Bison would be out to make amends.
“We knew they were going to be out for blood,” Johnson said. “They were pretty hyped up coming in and they showed it in those first two sets and I also think we got caught in some bad rotations that allowed them to get some easy points.”
Laine Schlicher ended the match with 24 assists and 17 digs. Macy Bruton, the team’s go-to hitter, recorded 25 kills and showed great effort on defense with 26 digs. Shea Williamson recorded 13 assists and 17 digs.
Benton Central coach John Vernon knew his team would likely get their chance at the Athenians again, and they would be ready.
“We’ve been waiting for two months for this re-match,” Vernon said. “Crawfordsville’s a fantastic team, but our girls came ready from the get-go tonight. I think they did a good job of being where Macy was going to hit it. They’ll be back though. They have a great young core, and the future looks bright for them.”
Throughout the season the Athenians never liked to talk about or mention their record or their historic season. Now that the season has come to an end, Johnson can look ahead to next season where the Athenians will bring back all but two members from this year’s team. The two graduating seniors for the Lady Athenians are Allyson Barton and Ariel Spencer.
“It (this season) was one of the best ones we’ve had in a while,” she said. “We dropped some matches that we could’ve won, but we’re looking forward to next year when we’ll mostly have everybody back. The girls will be a little bit more mature and I think we can come back and battle anyone we step on the court with.”
The Athenians will take some time off before starting their preparation for next fall.
“It’s going to take a lot hard work, dedication and accountability,” she said. “ We have a lot of work to get done in order to prepare for next season, but we’re definitely going to have fun doing it.”