Five-game thriller goes to Corydon
Last night’s county-, conference- and sectional-rivalry volleyball match between host North Harrison and Corydon Central had more twists and turns than a crooked gambler’s conscience.
From diving saves to controversial calls to great serves and powerful kills and blocks, the match could have easily gone 100 games and the crowd would still have salivated for more.
As it turned out, the bout went the full five-game distance, with the Lady Panthers nailing down the heart-stopping win, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-8.
From the opening kill by North Harrison’s Heather Irish, to the final blast by Stannye Wolfe of Corydon Central, the 2005 battle between the arch-enemies was one that won’t soon be forgotten.
‘I will never say that I out-coached Mr. Briscoe over there,’ Corydon skipper Kim Briscoe said of her son and North Harrison head coach Wes Briscoe. ‘He did a hell of a job tonight.
‘I hate it for his program because this would have been a morale booster for them. But there has to be a winner and loser.’
Wes Briscoe took the loss hard, emerging from the locker room teary-eyed and exhausted.
‘I haven’t cried in a while, so maybe we needed this loss so I could get a good cry out,’ he said. ‘(The match) could have gone either way. I can’t be disappointed in how (we) played.
‘I take a look around and I can’t say anyone had an off night.’
The first set was nip and tuck until just past the midway point.
That’s when Corydon’s Kate Jones, a senior, and junior Bethany Shewmaker came through.
Jones put down a kill to gain sideout and then Shewmaker aced twice for a 12-10 lead.
North senior Megan Dean marked a kill to slow the run, but the Lady Panthers rattled off an ace by Jones, a kill by Wolfe and a back-row attack by Shewmaker to push the lead to 16-11.
The Lady Cats (13-11, 2-3 MSC) never got closer than four points the rest of the way as Corydon posted the win.
Round Two saw Wolfe, who had 15 kills in a win over Salem last week, kill two more times to start the affair. Irish countered with a bullet shot of her own to keep things close.
From there the two clubs battled back and forth, with the Lady Panthers (13-7, 5-1) taking a 16-8 advantage.
The margin ballooned to 18-9 before Wes Briscoe called a time out to stifle the run.
The move worked as his club battled back and eventually tied the set at 20-20.
North was called for a net violation, but got the point back on a kill by freshman Wynn Shroyer. The hosts took the lead when sophomore Brooke Auberry killed.
To cap the come-from-behind win, Corydon had a hitting error, Shroyer killed again and junior Kim Doty blasted a shot through the front line for the 25-21 victory.
The Lady Cats led for most of the third game, taking a 16-12 advantage on a kill by Doty.
Cheyenne Wright scored on a soft tap over North’s defense, which sparked a slow rally by the visitors.
Another back row attack and an ace by Shewmaker knotted the game, but Dean came through with kill and Corydon ran into the net twice to swing momentum back into the hands of North.
Irish smashed a shot to end the game and send the home crowd into a tizzy, 25-22.
Corydon took a 6-4 lead in the early stage of the fourth frame on a scoring block and kill by Shewmaker and kills by Wolfe and Jones.
Irish had the magic touch, however, and hit not one, not two, not three…but four straight aces.
The quick burst not only put the Lady Cats on top, 9-6, but also brought Corydon’s Briscoe to a slow boil. She yanked two members of her back row and replaced them with sophomore junior varsity players Kara Wolfe and Jolanna Stiles.
Irish banged home another ace for a 10-6 lead, but a hitting miscue by the hosts ended the run.
Wolfe and Stiles capably played their positions, with Wolfe coming through with a couple of nice saves and Stiles marking a couple of late kills.
‘That’s what I talk about when I say my kids pay their dues in the system,’ Kim Briscoe said. ‘You had two kids who stepped right up and contributed when we needed it.’
In the fifth and final round, North Harrison had first serve and promptly sent the ball into the hammock.
After swapping miscues, Stannye Wolfe marked a kill, Stiles aced, North had a hitting error and Stiles scored on a tip for a 5-2 lead.
The Lady Cats were called for a net violation and had a hitting error before Brandi Auberry slowed the bleeding with back row attack.
The stoppage didn’t last long as the hosts committed a service error and a hitting error to bring on a North Harrison timeout.
‘I think it was a case where we served the ball into the net and suddenly we’re down and we have to press to get that point back,’ Wes Briscoe said. ‘It was a big game and there was the pressure and everything. They played so good and just seemed to forget what got them there.
‘We just didn’t come out with the same intensity in Game Five. It was like we were hoping Corydon was going to make the mistake.’
Elizabeth Casabella had a kill to make it 11-7. That’s when things started to unravel for North.
The Lady Cats notched their third service error of the game, which was followed by a scoring block by Stannye Wolfe.
After a hitting error by the visitors, Stannye Wolfe regained sideout with a kill, then ended the game with a powerful crush, 15-8.
Kim Briscoe praised the play of several players, including Shewmaker, Wolfe (both of them), Jones, Stiles, Wright, Cato and Robson, who was a substitute libero for the evening.
The Lady Panthers try to continue their winning ways on Saturday at the Boonville Tournament. North will try to keep up their momentum with a match on Thursday at 6 at Salem.