VOLLEYBALL: Chargers’ season comes to a close

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FRANKFORT — North Montgomery’s volleyball season came to an end Thursday with a 3-0 loss to Benton Central in the first round of the 3A Sectional 20 tournament.

The Chargers, whose season comes to a conclusion at 4-28, just didn’t have the firepower to match the Bison, who move to 25-6 on the season and advance to the sectional semifinals Saturday. The set scores were 25-9, 25-8, 25-17.

The end of any season always is emotional for a team, and the few victories for the Chargers did not stop the tears from flowing after the match.

“These girls really spoke with their hearts in that third set,” North coach Jodi Webster said. “We’ve had so many players have to play in so many positions. The versatility of our younger players is what we start to build on for next year.”

The Bison jumped out to an early lead and carried that through to wins in the first two sets, but the third was a different story.

The Chargers had leads at 2-1 and 4-3, tied it three times and were down only 16-15 deep into the set before BC closed the night out.

“North hustled the whole night and played hard,” Benton Central coach Jon Vernon said. “They never quit and that is a testament to them.”

The Bison have five different players with over 100 kills coming into the postseason, and they used that depth to win Thursday.

Lilly Cobb had 13 kills and the junior is only 14 short of 300 for the year. Senior Audrey Strawsma had nine kills, which took her to 303 for the season. 

Senior setter Oneta Gray had 32 assists, which puts her at 933 for the season. The Bison also had 17 service aces.

“It was our first game in nine days,’ Vernon said. “It was good to see our serving come back after being gone for a couple weeks. This group has come a long way in their varsity years. We won a sectional four years ago and want one of their own. We have a good tradition of girls sports at BC and we are looking forward to playing Twin Lakes on Saturday.”

The Chargers loss does mean the end of volleyball careers for four North players, as Kholey Surface, Grace Little, Gracie Chapman and Emily Sennett will hang up their orange uniforms.

“I can’t say enough about these four seniors and what they have done,” Webster said between the hugs and the tears with her team. “I’ve been with them since grade school, in the classroom, in youth programs and in practice and games. All those years together makes tonight so emotional with them leaving.”

“Kholey (Surface) has been in my classroom and in our youth programs.” she added. “She has played so many different positions and brings so much energy. Gracie (Little) has played a multitude of positions and really took advantage of her chances this season. Emily (Sennett) came back to play and did a really good job in the middle. She did a great job of hitting the ball. Gracie Chapman is one of those players who just seems like has been around forever. She was a youth player who recovered from an injury and gave her all.”

“These four have persevered,” the coach concluded, “given us leadership and are just very good young women who will excel in life.”

There were lots of sophomores and juniors who were playing in the season finale, and that group got their message from the coach looking forward.

“Get back in the gym, play some ball, develop those skills that we have started on,” Webster said. “Be determined, work hard and persevere. We are a youthful team,and their journey is just beginning.”

The Bison will take on Twin Lakes in the second semifinal match Saturday, following the Crawfordsville vs West Lafayette match. The two winners advance to the sectional championship game Saturday night at 6 pm at Case Arena.

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