|Sat, Dec 07, 2013 05:04 AM
|Issue of November 27, 2013
South Central setter Sabra Walker tries to facilitate the Lady Rebels offense against Christian Academy of Indiana. For the Lady Rebels, Maddison O'Connor (4) and Issabelle Temple look to attack while Oakley Taylor, right, provides cover. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
October 30, 2013 | 01:00 PM
In front of a noisy and active Christian Academy of Indiana student section, South Central was unable to gain momentum versus the host Lady Warriors.
Playing in the Class A CAI Sectional semi-final, CAI jumped out quick in the opening game, eventually rolling to a 25-11, 25-10, 25-11 sweep of South Central.
"We struggled in the game with nerves," South Central coach Patty Shaffer said. "Our passing, we didn't struggle like that during the regular season. That was certainly a big factor in game one, not just the serve-receive, but receiving anything. We couldn't seem to get the ball near the setter where we could run an offense."
Serves from CAI came from all different angles. Dipping the ball just over the net for aces or using high-powered jump serves to log aces. To the tune of seven aces in game one, CAI was dominant at the service line. Six different Lady Warriors put in aces, with Hannah Staggers positioning two.
CAI was up 18-5 in the opener before South Central used its offense to score a point. Sophomore Sabra Walker put down a kill.
Later in game one, after CAI's Krista Boesing served an ace, South Central had one of its best runs of the night. Following a service error, Haley Shaffer earned the Lady Rebels a point with a solo block. Walker added an ace to help South Central win four of five points. The game ended, however, with a Staggers ace.
"When we were able to pass the ball and get attacking opportunities, we were able to have a few goes at it," coach Shaffer said. "(The Lady Warriors) have a solid game and play very good defense and smart."
Quick starts were common for CAI. In the second game, Sierra Rayzor, Staggers and Boesing came out of the gates hammering kills. Along with aces from Emily Haworth and Alex Falcone, CAI sprung out to a 16-5 advantage.
Again, South Central strung together some good plays, winning four of five points, including an Issabelle Temple ace. CAI then closed the second game on a 8-1 spurt aided by four Boesing smashes.
South Central had a brief lead in game three when Jasmine Nalley's kill gave South Central a 3-2 edge. Boesing and the CAI went back to work, winning four straight points before pulling away and landing a spot in the final against New Washington.
Shaffer said, during the regular season meeting, the Lady Rebels were able to utilize the block better against CAI. It was a different story in the postseason.
"Today, we couldn't get the blockers to get a hand on some balls. It made it more difficult to cover the entire back court," Shaffer said.
The veteran coach said she saw improvement during the course of the year.
"We became a much better passing team over the course of the year," she said. "I felt our defensive coverage was better and managed or our positions better."
One area the program will look to get better at is confidence. Only three girls on the varsity squad have played in junior varsity matches in their high school careers. With only one senior — O'Connor — graduating, the Lady Rebels return two juniors and a host of freshmen and sophomores.
"They've always had this underdog mentality that we are JV kids playing varsity — ninth-graders playing juniors and seniors — and haven't overcome that," Shaffer said. "They are a whole different team when they play with confidence."
Three players are slated to play club volleyball in the offseason.
"I'm really optimistic for next year," Shaffer said. "We saw forward progress this year. We lost a lot of games by five points or fewer, so we see the progress but it's getting the girls to realize that then take a step forward again next year."
New Washington 3, Lanesville 0
Lanesville's volleyball season came to an end in the opening round of the Class A CAI Sectional last Tuesday when the Lady Eagles dropped a three-game match against Southern Athletic Conference rival New Washington.
The Lady Mustangs advanced to the semi-final with a 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 victory over the Lady Eagles.
During the regular season, New Washington held Lanesville to under 13 points in each game of their Sept. 26 match-up.
In the sectional, Lanesville's pair of seniors, Hannah Conder and Robyn Schoen, paced the Lady Eagles in stats. Schoen recorded 10 kills, while Conder had six. Haylie Walter contributed five kills.
New Washington's strength came at the service line with 10 aces and 13 kills by senior standout Caroline Ricks. At the line, Walter served a trio of aces for Lanesville.
New Washington advanced to the semi-final where it defeated Rock Creek Academy 3-1.