LINDEN — For North Montgomery volleyball coach Taylor Dyson, it has officially come full circle. Back in 2017 Dyson was a senior for the Chargers and helped lead them to their last county title. Now fast forward six years and the Charger alum can now say she’s coached her former team to another county crown. The Chargers hosted county rival Crawfordsville on Thursday and the host Chargers got to celebrate on their home floor with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-15 sweep of the Athenians.
The first two sets couldn’t have been any closer and it looked as if the visiting Athenians had the momentum. Up 22-15, needing just three points to close out the set one win, North rallied off nine in a row to go up 24-22 and two points later clinch the thrilling come from behind win in the opening set.
Set two was more of the same. It wasn’t a 22-15 deficit, but it was a 21-18 hole that the Chargers found themselves in. Once again North Montgomery dug deep to rally back and win the second 25-23. With all the momentum on their side, the Chargers were able to close out the sweep pretty handily in set three.
“County champs has the best ring to it,” Dyson said after the win. “For me it for sure has come full circle and it’s just so exciting. These girls have worked their tails off all season and they deserve this. They found the fire when they needed to most in those first two sets. Crawfordsville made us play some of our best volleyball tonight. In the end our girls came out on top.”
While the Chargers celebrated, it was a somber Athenian sideline after the loss knowing that they were just a few points away from being up 2-0. First year coach Allison Manwell credited the Chargers for putting her team in situations they aren’t quite used to seeing.
“They put us in some chaotic spots that we haven’t quite been in before,” she said. “We’ve played a lot of controlled volleyball lately. It seemed like they did a lot of free-balling tonight and those plays can be hard to read when you don’t know exactly what’s coming. North was able to keep us off balance just enough and we were never able to gain control when we needed it.”
Stat wise for CHS in the loss Ally Strickland had four aces. Strickland also paced the way with nine kills as did Reese Price. Devan Johnson added eight. Strickland continued to fill the stat sheet with 11 assists while Claire Peacock had 19 of her own. Alayna Hall led the Athenian defense with 10 digs. Emma Buser and Sam Rohr added seven and Peacock rounded out the evening with five.
For the Chargers it’s their second straight win as they improve to 6-9 (2-3 SAC) on the season. Crawfordsville falls to 4-15 (0-2 SAC) with the loss.
Next up on the schedule for the Chargers will be on Saturday when they travel to compete in the Seeger Invite. Crawfordsville will have another county matchup on its hands on Tuesday when the Athenians host Southmont.
Both teams are looking to build off of the county game and play their best volleyball in the final few weeks of the regular season.
“Even with this loss we’ve played some of our best volleyball as of late,” Manwell said. “We scored 21 against a very good Lafayette Central Catholic team, took a good North Putnam squad to five sets on Tuesday and now play well here. The nice thing that I keep telling myself is that we’re still not peaking which hopefully comes here in the next few weeks. These girls know what they can accomplish, they just need to bring it at the right time.”
Dyson hopes this is the turning point and the momentum boost that her team needs to carry them the rest of the way.
“We still want to be on that up-ward track and tonight hopefully goes a long way to getting us there,” she said. “I’m excited to see where this win can take us.”
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