High School Sports

Emerson’s 3 stars of the week: A look at FC and North volleyball, Chargers girls' soccer and Crawfordsville golfer Bailey Mittal

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Chargers and Mustang volleyball looking to turn things around

Coming into this season, both Fountain Central and North Montgomery volleyball were looking to get back on the winning track. This season has brought its own challenges for both teams, however they both have seen bright spots this season and are looking toward what is hopefully a bright future. 

The Chargers (2-5) have won two out of their last three games after starting out the season 0-4. The team recently picked up wins over Fountain Central and Riverton Parke. 

First year coach Whitney Hutson is starting to see the improvement with her squad as of late. 

“We’re starting to get into rhythm,” Hutson said. “They’re starting to feel more comfortable out there on the court and playing well together. We’re trying to really hustle out there for every point and not give up in a game just because we may be down on the scoreboard.” 

In her first season Hutson has relied on the upperclassmen and leaders of the team to help set a good example for the younger players. Junior Ashlynn Anderson is one of those leaders for the Chargers. 

“Those girls have been huge for us,” Hutson said of the upperclassmen. “We’ve always tried to grow leaders and they’re hard to come by sometimes, but we have a good set of girls that have stepped into that role.” 

Junior Ashlynn Anderson, who is second on the team with 32 kills, is one of those leaders for the Chargers.

For the Mustangs they started the year with back to back wins but have been looking to get back into the win column ever since as they currently sit at 2-8. 

The biggest thing that coach Alyssa Larson is preaching and wanting from her team is to find a nice balance of being aggressive but also being consistent in their play.

The Mustangs have been plagued by injuries and have had numerous players miss time this season. 

“Ever since our third game of the season, we haven’t had our full team,” Larson said. “That’s our biggest challenge right now is not knowing who we’ll have available for each match.” 

Despite a rough start the Mustangs have a roster comprised mostly of upperclassmen. Larson said that experience has eased the burden of the rough start to the season. 

“They’re able to bring each other up a lot,” she said “They’re a really close-knit group both in and out of the gym. That leadership definitely helps us mentally.” 

Resilient Chargers may get down, but are never out 

The North Montgomery girls’ soccer team has been battle-tested numerous times this season. Almost every single time the Chargers have battled through adversity, they have come through and delivered a win. 

The team on Wednesday fell behind early to Benton Central but were able to respond as senior Sidney Campbell answered both times the Bison took a lead. The Chargers (6-1) after the win over the Bison on Wednesday had won three straight games against an opponent that they were defeated by last season. 

After returning all their starters from last season, coach Julie Hodges knew that this team had the makings of something special. 

“This senior class is probably the most well-rounded group of human beings I’ve coached in my 15 years,” Hodges said. “It starts with their character and then you throw in their competitiveness and this group of girls, I just can’t say enough great things about them.”

Hodges also stated that she started to challenge this team all the way back in the spring after the cancellation of the spring sports season. Not expecting a whole lot of results due to the quarantine, she was blown away with what transpired afterward.

“I was getting daily pictures and videos of them working out,” Hodges said. “They were logging their minutes on a team spread sheet we had, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The senior group really took charge of that and it has shown up in our play.” 

Mittal eyeing successful end to career

Despite playing through an elbow injury last season, Crawfordsville senior Bailey Mittal still qualified for the IHSAA golf regional after a strong showing at the sectional.

This fall Mittal is healthy and ready to help lead the Athenians as one of the three teams to advance out of this years’ sectional at Harrison Hills Golf Club in Attica.

Coach Tony Thomas has seen the improvement from Mittal and knows she has what it takes. 

“She’s worked really hard all offseason and throughout the season,” Thomas said. “She’s always the first one here and the last one to leave. Her competitive drive is outstanding and the attention to detail of the game is something I want the younger girls to pay attention to.” 

With the conference meet set for Saturday at the Crawfordsville Country Club, Mittal has her eyes set on once again claiming a spot on first team all-conference. Not only is Mittal focusing on the conference meet, but with the sectional quickly approaching next Saturday, both her and coach Thomas know there is little room for error. 

“Her expectations are pretty high,” Thomas said. “She wants to help guide us out of the sectional because it has been 2010 since Crawfordsville has made it out as a team. She has been helping out both Carli (Payne) and Sadie (Walker) who are still learning the game.”

The biggest improvement Mittal has seen in her own game has been the consistency, especially when she gets onto the green. 

“I’m taking my time a lot more this year,” Mittal said. “I’ve been lining up my shots a lot better and it’s made a big difference.” 

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