The slates are clean, and records thrown out as the IHSAA Volleyball Sectional opens tonight with the four local teams playing in three different sectionals around the area. Some with a lot to prove, and others with nothing to lose.
Mounties Eye Title
Members of the Southmont volleyball team have watched their classmates win sectional titles in boys’ tennis, girls’ golf, and girls’ soccer, and now they want a piece of a hardware for themselves.
“The girls really want to win a sectional championship this year, especially after coming so close last year,” Southmont coach Lauran Nichols said. “We have such a special, talented, and fun group of girls and I know they aren’t ready for this season to be over yet. I’m really excited to see them compete at the sectional and hopefully bring home a sectional title.”
The Mounties fell to Greencastle 3-1 in a Class 3A title game last fall, but this season find themselves in a Class 2A sectional at Cloverdale.
And Southmont has posted a 19-9 regular season record, but the rest of the sectional is loaded as well. The Mounties open up with Cloverdale (17-11), a team they beat 3-1 to start the season. The winner gets Riverton Parke (18-11), a team that swept the Mounties late in the season. On the other side of the bracket sits Cascade (11-15), South Putnam (15-12), North Putnam (21-8), and Parke Heritage (21-8). Southmont owns a five-set win over the Cougars, and were victims to the Wolves in another five-set match.
Southmont has lost four out of their last six matches, and Nichols knows they must return to just playing the game, and having fun.
“Our big focus this past weekend and going into sectionals is to play hard and have fun,” she said. This past weekend at the North tournament we saw a lot more glimpses of the successful team we know we are. Our coaching staff has really had to remind the girls that volleyball is meant to be fun and bring them joy and when you lose that aspect of the sport, it’s very easy to go through the motions and get burnt out.”
The Mounties and Clovers square off tonight at 7 p.m., while the winner plays Riverton Parke on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Athenians with nothing to lose
“We’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
That’s the motto for Crawfordsville volleyball as they head into the Class 3A sectional at Frankfort.
The Athenians, a young team full of potential, enter at 14-13, and will face the winner of Frankfort (18-12) and West Lafayette (21-8) on Saturday at 11 a.m. Both teams that Crawfordsville lost to in the regular season.
“We feel very positive about the sectional,” Crawfordsville coach Kelly Johnson said. “We’ve got two teams to think about and prepare for that are very different styles. West Lafayette is more of a strong hitting team, and Frankfort is scrappy.”
Johnson says with a young team that continues to improve each and every day, figuring out how to play smart volleyball is their biggest key to success.
“We have to do a really good job when we are out of system we have to play smart, and that’s probably the biggest key,” she said. “And I think our young kids are learning to do that.”
Chargers hope to peak
On the other side of the bracket at Frankfort sits North Montgomery (4-24), who faces Benton Central (24-6), with the winner to play Twin Lakes (6-21).
Chargers coach Jodi Webster feels like they have saved their best volleyball for the end of the season.
“As we have headed into October I have seen a lot of growth in this team,” she said. “We have been through a lot of change and adversity since we began this journey together. We have made some line up adjustments that I feel will play dividends at tourney time.”
Mustangs hopeful entering tourney
Fountain Central has turned a corner in the back half of the season.
The Mustangs enter the Class 2A sectional at Clinton Prairie with an 8-18 record, and are eager to square off with Lewis Cass (6-19) on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
“I keep telling the girls that we are peaking at the right time,” Mustangs coach Alyssa Larson said. “We’ve played some great games start to finish in the last couple weeks and have been competitive against some fantastic teams.”
The winner will play the winner of Rossville (11-16) and Seeger (18-8) on Saturday in the semi-finals. On the other side of bracket sits Delphi (7-17), who awaits the winner of Carroll (25-6) and Clinton Prairie (12-17).