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Lady Highlanders roll past Corydon

September 03, 2014 | 11:38 AM

The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders volleyball team got its third straight win Thursday night when it defeated the visiting Lady Panthers of Corydon Central. Floyd Central won the match in a three-game sweep that lasted about an hour. For some of the Lady Panthers, it was their first experience against a Class 4A school.

Corydon Central's Chelsey Smith, right, jumps to put a shot over Floyd Central's Maddy Weber in the second game of the Lady Highlanders' three-game sweep. Photo by Wade Bell
"I appreciate the ability to still be able to play here and learn," Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said. "We'll be better next year because we only have one senior. (Gracie Paden) is a freshman; (Hannah Marshall) is a freshman. The older kids are bringing them along. They're not better players than my older kids; they're just athletic kids. We're learning the game, so that's fine."

For the Lady Highlanders, it was a match where the team continued to gel with a chance to get some younger players on the floor.

"We changed the lineup a little bit and started running a little bit of offense, so we should have looked better tonight regardless of the competition," Floyd Central coach Bart Powell said. "It's an extra week of practice. Early in the season, it doesn't matter how good a group is. They've got to get used to playing with each other."

Floyd Central crushed the Lady Panthers at the start of game one, racing to an 11-1 lead, with Maddy Weber drilling four service aces in the run. The Lady Highlanders then went to attacking the net, getting kills for Lauren Koopman, Gwyn Jones and Weber. The Lady Highlanders cruised to get the win, 25-9.

"They're five inches shorter than their whole team," Briscoe said. "That's a better way to teach the game of volleyball than to practice, to run against kids who play club ball and are five inches taller than you."

"Our block was better, which makes our defense better," Powell said. "They weren't hitting a lot of balls, but it was where it was supposed to be and they were going up together."

The Lady Highlanders scored the first six points of game two and exploded to an 18-1 advantage, getting kills all along the front row. Floyd Central gave up a point on a missed serve, then Bailey Money punched in a kill for the Lady Panthers. From there, it was all Floyd Central, which went on to the 25-3 win.

Floyd Central began game three with a younger lineup, and the Lady Panthers took advantage, pushing to a 10-6 lead midway through the game.

Floyd Central's Kayli Dempster punched in a kill and later a service ace; the Lady Highlanders closed the gap to one. Hannah Joly added a kill, starting a 5-1 Floyd Central burst.

Corydon Central fought to stay in the game, keeping within two, 15-13, after Makenzie Episcopo killed for a point. Floyd Central, however, scored the next seven, led by Dempster, who punched in three of those. Floyd Central cruised on to win from there by a 25-15 advantage.

"You don't play too many Division 1 recruits at a setter position, and you could see with her off the floor what it does to their whole chemistry," Briscoe said. "What a blessing. I don't think I've ever come in and just had kids who can play. That's the difference between the 3A school and the 4A school who has the club players."

"Kim had an awfully young group out there (in game three), and all of those kids (on the bench) practice hard with us everyday in practice," Powell said of his bench. "They did a really nice job. Jacque Farris did a really nice job. That's her first varsity match. I know she was a little nervous, but she did a great job."

Jones led the Lady Highlanders with eight kills, and Koopman had six kills and two aces on serve. Dempster had five kills and two aces, and Weber punched in five aces and two kills. Floyd Central had just eight errors for the match and missed six serves. The biggest stat was the Lady Highlanders' 14 service aces.

Chelsey Smith led Corydon Central with five kills. The Lady Panthers missed just four serves but had just three aces. Corydon Central finished with 23 errors.

"Digging and blocking," Briscoe said of what she liked in her team. "I don't think Floyd expected us to do the soft blocking that we did. We were touching a lot of their swings. We actually worked on that in practice yesterday and that helped us to accomplish that skill. We'll be better in the days to come for sure."

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