HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Athenians seal first county title since 2015 with sweep of Mounties

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In 2020, Southmont denied Crawfordsville a county volleyball championship and stopped the Athenians 15-game win streak.

The Athenians remembered the pain. And on Monday night delivered a dominating performance 3-0 (25-8, 25-8, 25-13) against the Mounties to win their first county title since 2015 and push its season record to 19-4 overall and 3-0 in the Sagamore Conference.

“We had motivation after what happened last year,” Crawfordsville coach Kelly Johnson said. “And I thought the girls came to play tonight. They were intense, they worked hard and had a good time out there.”

Crawfordsville jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the opening set and they never looked back.

“We told them to come in tonight and have fun, that was the most important thing, because after playing North on Thursday, they didn’t have much fun,” Co-Southmont coach Casey Phillips said.

The Mounties, who fall to 2-10 overall and 0-5 in the SAC, fought to the end, finally stringing together some points in the third set, but were unable to overcome Crawfordsville’s offensive firepower.

“They are good offensively. They were a little defeated, so we just wanted them to come in and give maximum effort,” Co-Southmont coach Erin Barry said. “We knew they were going to get their kills, we just wanted to try and eliminate some of them and try to eliminate our errors. The third set was better. We eliminated our mistakes.”

Crawfordsville’s offense came from all around. Macy Bruton had 24 kills to go along with an ace and seven digs, while Hallie Gayler had nine kills and two assists and Shea Williamson had six kills, six digs, a pair of aces and an assist. Laine Schlicher had 35 assists, five digs, and three kills.

“I’ve got to give credit to all of them,” Johnson said. “I thought it was an excellent team effort. Everybody contributed and everybody did their job. Sometimes when you’re playing a team that you’re not sure where it’s going to go, it’s not a set play, it’s tough, but we handled that really well tonight and sometimes that’s not easy to do.”

Crawfordsville rebounded well from last seasons’ loss to Southont with four-straight wins, but a win this year helps keep the Athenians’ goals in tact.

“There was a lot of tension last year, and it wasn’t one person,” Johnson said. “We had played 15-straight matches and not lost and everybody is out to get you at that point. And South did a great job and had great leadership that night, and we folded. And we didn’t fold as individuals, we folded as a team, so we are just glad to get this done and get the county championship.”

The first goal was to win a county championship and now that it’s complete — the focus turns to the Sagamore Conference with matches against Western Boone, Danville, and Tri-West to be played this week. And Johnson feels like the Athenians, who finished 4-3 in the SAC last season, are in a much better spot heading into the final stretch of the regular season.

“I feel really good about it,” she said. “We played a really good Heritage Christian team over the weekend and it could have gone either way. We felt really good about the day Saturday, and I just think we are at a little higher level this year than we were this time last year and hope to take that on.”

Alyx Bannon added three kills, three digs, and two aces in the win, while Halle Elliott had 10 digs, Olivia Reed seven digs and Liddy McCarty a kill.

Tayler Anderson led Southmont with 10 digs and three assists, while Chelsea Veatch added seven digs and three assists. Regan Remley had six kills, Elizabeth Conkright four assists and Makia Pierce an ace.

Crawfordsville welcomes Western Boone tonight, while Southmont looks for its first SAC win when thy host Lebanon on Wednesday.

“We had good moments, and like we’ve said all season, we just have to keep pushing day in and day out to try and string a whole game together,” Barry said following the loss on Monday.

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