|Sun, Apr 20, 2014 09:38 AM
October 09, 2013 | 11:02 AM
Last Tuesday's "Dig Pink Classic" volleyball match was about both cancer awareness and the county rivalry between North Harrison and Corydon Central, and a big crowd came out to see a regular slug-fest with the Lady Panthers coming out on top in a three-game sweep. It was not an easy win for the Lady Panthers, however, as the visiting Lady Cats kept it close throughout the match.
"It was a great volleyball game," Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said. "Those kids in blue played as hard as the kids in black, and it's a great county rivalry. We had a lot of people here with Dig Pink, which helps to see what kind of effort and athletes in this kind of game come out every night."
Corydon Central's Payton Windell has the sledge-o-matic going against North Harrison, punching in 20 kills for the night, including this one past Brittany Rudolph. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"It was punch for punch the entire way, especially that second game," North Harrison assistant coach Caitlyn Janes said. "We came back in both the first and third match. We talked about we've come a long way, and we've started hustling more and now we want to work hard. Now, we have to learn how to finish games."
North Harrison jumped to the initial lead and gave itself an 8-4 cushion. The Lady Cats then struggled, committing six straight hitting errors that allowed the Lady Panthers a 14-11 lead. Maddie Janes and Bethany Wiley closed that gap to one with back-to-back kills. From that point, however, the game belonged to the Lady Panthers, who held off North Harrison for a 25-16 win.
"We got up and we would give them a point and we would have five points, and we would let them make a run, and our faces, you could tell, we'd get discouraged," Janes said. "We have to talk about really staying up and not letting them get you down, not letting those points get you down."
Game two was a back-and-forth affair with 16 ties and four lead changes with neither team leading by more than two points. Corydon Central started the exchange by taking the lead, but Carlie Burson got two quick kills for a North Harrison lead. The two teams then pounded the ball at each other to a 24-all tie. Corydon Central finally got the upper hand, with Reagan Mosley killing for the lead. Abigail Saulman aced on the next side-out, and the Lady Panthers had the 26-24 win.
"It was a challenge for them with their head coach having a baby, and I think their assistant coach did an amazing job of keeping their team focused and playing well," Briscoe said. "I'm glad we were on top when it was over."
"It brought back memories of the Corydon Invitational where we went into the 30s," Janes said. "Nobody wanted to finish the game. When you have the ball in your hands and you're up, you have to want to finish the game. You have to be on the offensive end, and we play on the defensive end too much."
The Lady Cats got the upper hand in game three, advancing to an 11-6 lead. Payton Windell then blocked for a point and the Lady Panthers started their rally, closing to within one on three straight kills. North Harrison then committed two errors to allow Corydon Central up front. That lasted only briefly, however, as Burson killed and Corydon Central was called for a lift.
Mosley, however, had a big say in how the game would finish, punching in the next five kills for an 18-14 Corydon Central lead. North Harrison got to within three but no closer as the Lady Panthers went on to win the game and match 25-20.
"I think we're finding real balance right now," Briscoe said. "Our balance is in our serving and our ability to attack the ball. Really throw a team in a tizzy because of how hard we hit the ball."
"We have to be aggressive," Janes said. "We're not a big team. We don't have 6-foot tall trees there to block. So, where our block is off, our defense has to be on. We're really trying to be aggressive with defense. That's what we've been working on."
Burson led North Harrison with 13 kills, and Janes had seven kills and 17 digs. Kaylin Bright had 15 digs, and Jill Book had 13. The Lady Cats missed just three serves for the match, but they only had three aces. North Harrison finished with 26 errors.
"She (Burson) got down for a few minutes, but this is the first time I've seen her really come back and really rally once she'd made a couple of mistakes," Janes said. "That was big for her. She was huge."
Windell had a big night for the Lady Panthers with 20 kills, and Mosley was close behind with 18. Hayley Rennirt added five kills for the Lady Panthers, who missed five serves but only had two aces. Corydon Central had just 11 errors.
"(Windell) has had a hammer for about the past six matches," Briscoe said. "She's really coming on strong. You can't take anything away from (Mosley) either. Our setter (Valerie Crawford) is really starting to move her feet and play all parts of the game. She's a first-year varsity setter, so throwing them all up together and getting to peak at the same time is always the goal."