High School Sports

VOLLEYBALL SECTIONAL PREVIEW: Athenians hope to contend, Mounties aim at sectional repeat

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While Southmont volleyball has had an up and down 2020 campaign, the Mounties are eager to start their quest toward a second straight Class 2A IHSAA Sectional title.

The Mounties are 11-8 and will face 2-25 Cloverdale tonight at North Putnam at 6 p.m.

With an early season lineup change that moved IUPUI commit Sidney Veatch to a hitting position, coach Lauran Nichols feels like the Mounties are playing their best volleyball of the season heading into the sectional.

“I do feel like we have settled into the new lineup and everyone has settled into their roles nicely,” she said. “It was definitely an adjustment but everyone has stepped up and contributes to our success. I do feel like this team is playing the best volleyball I’ve seen all season, which is what we strive for each year.”

With a win Southmont will advance to the semifinal and play North Putnam on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. The Cougars are 15-12 on the season and swept the Mounties early in the year. On the other side of the bracket sits Parke Heritage (18-6), Cascade (9-15) and South Putnam (25-2). Southmont has a pair of losses to the Wolves and a five-set loss to the Eagles in the regular season.

“During our matches against NP, Parke Heritage, and South Put we did some really great things and there were things we need to improve on,” Nichols said. “We have been focusing on these things during practice this week and we will discuss those things in more detail before we face any of those teams. Every time we step out onto the court, we have to play harder, more scrappy, and play with more intensity than our opponent.”

“These girls are competitors and are hungry for another sectional title and I’m excited to see how this week goes.”

Kaley Remley leads the Mounties with 193 kills, while Sidney Veatch has 254 assists.

Crawfordsville had a historic regular season with 22 wins against just four losses. The Athenians are undefeated against sectional opponents, and their young team is ready to compete for a Class 3A Sectional title at Benton Central.

“I think my girls are very capable of winning a sectional,” longtime Crawfordsville coach Kelly Johnson said. “We just have to pull three great matches together and do the job we’v been doing all year.”

Crawfordsville opens the sectional against 4-19 Twin Lakes tonight at 6 p.m. The winner will play 14-13 Frankfort, a team the Athenians swept just last week.

West Lafayette, a team Crawfordsville swept during the regular season, has had to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID-19 concerns. That means Benton Central (23-4) will now play North Montgomery (6-16) in the second semifinal on Saturday. The Athenians beat the Bison 3-1 and the Chargers 3-0 during the regular season.

Johnson says with such a young team they are enjoying little to no pressure despite being the favorites on paper.

“I will say with this young team, we really just have two seniors,” she said. “We just have to take it one game at a time. There’s no stress, we just go in, we practice and do our thing and hopefully good things will happen.”

Crawfordsville is looking for its first sectional title since 2007. Macy Bruton leads the Athenians with 528 kills, while Laine Schlicher has 509 assists.

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