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Sliding in for a pass, Corydon Central's Payton Windell bumps the ball toward the front line while teammate Cassidy Saulman backs her up. In the semi-final, Madison defeated the Lady Panthers in three games. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Passing struggles limit Lady Panthers


Lady Cubs end CC's season at 21-11


October 30, 2013 | 12:58 PM

Corydon Central was able to keep pace for a game against powerful Madison in the first game of the Class 3A Brownstown Central volleyball sectional semi-final Saturday.

Once the Lady Cubs pulled away late in the opening game, Madison had its way with Corydon Central, rolling to a 25-17, 25-9, 25-9 victory.

From Madison's aggressive serving to Corydon Central struggling to pass the ball, the Lady Panthers were limited in showcasing their potential firepower against the winners.

"That first ball touch, they just forgot to do what was important," Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said. "What was important was getting the ball passed so we can get into our offensive system. (Madison) was getting into their offensive system and we weren't; that is how you can lose. You can't play defense the whole match."

Early indications in game one projected a tighter match.

The Lady Panthers used a kill from Reagan Mosley and a block from Abigail Saulman to jump out to a 4-2 lead. Madison answered with a four-point run paced by blocks from towers in the middle: Emily Holland and Olivia Crozier.

From that point, the teams would trade points. Corydon Central picked up winners from Makenzie Episcopo, Payton Windell and Mosley. Macky Hecox served an ace for Madison to give the Lady Cubs a 14-10 lead, prompting Briscoe to call a time-out.

Out of the break, Madison found its groove, winning six of the next eight points.

Windell had a pair of late kills, but Madison was well ahead. Delany Liter and Katie Hartman had aces during the last half of the opener.

"We really played decent the first game," Briscoe said.

Going on the attack, Madison opened a gaping lead in the second game. Windell opened with a spike for Corydon Central, but it was Madison's hitters that swung the game open. Hartman ripped off three kills while Crozier, Holland and Hecox hammered winners. Mixing in a pass to the open floor by setter Whitney Wynn and a Hartman ace, the Lady Cubs led 12-2 to start.

Madison continued to have big runs, one of four points and the last was a seven-point spurt.

"At times, we were just sending the ball back over for (Madison) to run their offense again," Briscoe said. "I expected either a really good game by us or what we ended up seeing. There is not a lot you can do about that."

Game three had a similar start with Madison leading 12-2 early on. Corydon Central won three straight points, led by a diving dig by Windell that set up a Mosley kill. After cutting the lead to 12-5, Madison went to Hecox and Holland to score seven straight points, essentially sealing the Lady Panthers' season.

"We were prepared to play well today, and we didn't show up to play well," Briscoe said. "It was a mental toughness issue with the younger players, but a 21-11 season is not too bad for a team that doesn't have a lot of club players."

Briscoe said the struggles with passing against Madison led to too many free balls over the net.

"Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have switch Payton and Reagan just to bring (Payton) across the front more because Reagan wasn't getting anything done," Briscoe said. "Part of that was we weren't passing the ball well to get Reagan into rhythm. Volleyball is such a 'stick out like a sore-thumb game'; you're either playing your position and running our system the way it needs to be or you're struggling."

Despite the loss, Briscoe was please with the season. The Lady Panthers finished third in the Mid-Southern Conference and completed a 20-plus win season.

"We had an opportunity to finish tied for the conference but we didn't play our best volleyball against Silver Creek, going to 20 points in two games," Briscoe said.

"We are sorely going to miss those seniors only because, as my assistant coach said, out of all the senior groups we've had, those seniors have grown more in four years than any other senior group we've ever had," Briscoe said. "That's because they are great kids, great students, parents have high expectations and push them and we have high expectations and push them. They just needed a little more of a supporting cast today to defeat a good team."

Madison would go on to fall to Brownstown Central in four games in the championship. It's the 17th consecutive sectional title for the Lady Braves, the second longest active streak in the state (Castle has the longest).

Corydon Central will graduate five seniors: August Powell, Chelsea John, Windell, Mosley and Saulman.

Windell and Mosley were head and shoulders above the stat sheet in kills with 373 and 370, respectively, for the season. John was the team leader in serve percentage (87.8 percent), while Windell led in digs (320) and aces (68).

"This was a good group of kids that worked hard to grow and become a team all year long," Briscoe said. "I'd call it a pretty successful season."

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