|Wed, Dec 18, 2013 10:07 AM
|Issue of December 11, 2013
October 02, 2013 | 12:41 PM
Henryville donned pink jersey tops while host South Central went through volleyball warm-ups last Tuesday with T-shirts that read, "Celebrate The Survivors, Honor The Fallen, Fight Back Together, Always Hold On To Hope."
Joining together, the Southern Athletic Conference rivals went toe-to-toe on the volleyball line to not only determine the better team on the court, but also turn the night into a cancer benefit.
South Central's Sabra Walker reaches out to pass a ball to the Lady Rebels' setter againt Henryville last Tuesday. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
While the volleyball program had games in the main gymnasium, the fifth- and sixth-grade girls' basketball programs battled North Harrison in the auxiliary gymnasium.
The draw of fans was strong for both events.
"It was nice," South Central volleyball coach Patty Shaffer said. "We had a really good turnout with both gyms going at the same time."
Thin on seniors, South Central's lone upperclassman could provide little help in the match against the Lady Hornets. Maddison O'Connor suffered an ankle injury late in game one, sidelining her for the remainder of the match.
"It hurt us when Maddie got hurt," Shaffer said. "She's a full rotation player, but we were able to put (Miranda) Kiper, a freshman, in the front row, then (Josie) Faith, a sophomore, in the back row. They were able to do what we asked of them."
Henryville traveled home with a three-set win, 25-14, 25-15, 25-20.
In the opening game, South Central dropped the first three points but managed to hang with the Lady Hornets at times. The Lady Rebels scored four points in a row, led by Haley Shaffer and Lela Board kills, to draw the game even at 5.
Going on to earn eight of the next 11 points, Henryville was able to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Oakley Taylor and Jasmine Nalley had aces late in the game for South Central.
Jumping out front in game two, South Central used winners by Shaffer and Board to take a 6-4 lead. Shaffer also chipped in a winning block.
The two-point lead would be South Central's biggest of the night, but it wouldn't last. Henryville went on the attack with Cassidy Mull, Kerri Cochran and Haley Huddleston smashing winners.
Several Henryville points in the second game came by way of South Central errors. Trouble returning a few Henryville serves also caused South Central problems, with Natalie LaMotte sending in a pair of aces.
"I really think it's a mental game," Shaffer said. "For whatever reason, we have mental lapses, forget to communicate or to use our speed to the ball. The good news is we can fix it. We don't have to depend on the other team to fix our errors. I think we're making great progress and seeing it in the girls."
Game three was a more back-and-forth affair. South Central used good defensive play at the net and in the back row to force Henryville into errors. Offensively, kills from Sabra Walker and Shaffer helped the Lady Rebels offense.
Tied seven times in game three, Henryville broke a 12-all game with a kill to take the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Shaffer said the team has been working on cleaning up the miscues on the floor.
"We really worked the last week, week and a half on our mental game," she said. "I've told the girls we have beat ourselves time and again. If you look at our stats, the video, these other teams aren't beating us. We're losing by five, six, seven points, sometimes two points. You look at the unforced errors, and we are doing it to ourselves."
During practices, Shaffer said the varsity team is put in simulated game situations to limit errors while going against the junior varsity players.
"I think it helped and showed tonight," Shaffer said. "A bright spot tonight was we were able to use some of the bench. We used Brianna Blackman, a first-year player that has really come on."
The game benefited the Schoen family. Another benefit, to take place Saturday at South Central Elementary School in Elizabeth, will have chili, soups, brats, hot dogs, pies and cakes along with raffle and auction items.
South Central will hit the road Friday to face Christian Academy of Indiana in New Albany.