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Lady Cats fall short to Silver Creek

North Harrison fell short in its bid to advance in the Salem volleyball sectional Saturday afternoon as the Lady Cats lost a three-game decision to the Silver Creek Lady Dragons in the semi-finals.
‘We couldn’t catch a break,’ North Harrison coach Wes Briscoe said. ‘We played our butts off this afternoon, so it was disappointing to see us go out like that. We did exactly what we had to do when we came in.’
North Harrison got off to a good start in the three-game hammer session. The game went back and forth in the early going, but Wynn Shroyer then gave the Lady Cats a 12-9 lead with a pair of kills. Angela Cassabella later made it a four-point edge with a block to score, but the Lady Dragons quickly rallied to tie the game at 16 and then take the lead at 18-17 following two North Harrison errors.
From there, Silver Creek maintained control for a 25-23 win.
‘We traded too many points with Silver Creek where we should have pushed out two or three points at a time,’ Briscoe said. ‘Our serving wasn’t bad, but we’d win a really big point, then serve the ball into the net, and those are momentum killers.’
The two teams played close to begin game two, then North Harrison committed three straight errors that allowed Silver Creek a 10-6 lead. The Lady Cats closed within two, but the Lady Dragons then made an 8-3 run to put North Harrison down by seven.
North Harrison fought to get back in the game, Kim Doty blocking for a kill to cut the Lady Cat deficit to 21-19. After trading points, the Lady Cats committed a serving error that gave Silver Creek a 25-22 win.
‘We played hard,’ Briscoe. ‘I think we might have actually been on the floor more than we were standing up. I can’t say anything bad about the way we played, because we knew what we had to do and we came out and did it. We just didn’t come out with a win.’
North Harrison fought to stay alive in game three, leading 6-5 early, but Silver Creek made a 5-0 run to lead by four. Senior Rachel Adams killed twice to pull the Lady Cats to a 12-all tie, but Silver Creek responded with five straight points.
North Harrison would get only as close as four after that, and the Lady Cats’ season ended in a 25-19 loss that gave Silver Creek the match.
‘We got a little complacent and started tipping more,’ Briscoe said. ‘In game one we came out and were just swinging the life out of the ball, which is good because that sets up our off-speed offense. As the match went on, I don’t think we were getting tired, but we went to that tip a little bit more, because every time we did it, they had such a big gaping hole in their defense. We thought it was going to be there every time. A good team is going to close that down.’
Shroyer led the Lady Cats with 11 kills, and Liz Cassabella finished with seven. Angela Cassabella had five kills.
North Harrison missed six serves and had just two aces. The Lady Cats had 19 errors.
Robin Martin led Silver Creek with 13 kills and three aces. Molly Eckert had nine kills, and Jessica Pangburn had six kills and two aces.
The Lady Dragons also missed six kills, but had eight aces. Silver Creek finished with 27 errors.
‘We’d get a real big point then something would happen,’ Briscoe said.
‘Emotionally, as a player, I’m busting my butt and I’m playing clean volleyball, and all of sudden something happens on the other side that you can’t believe and it deflates you a little bit. It deflates me as a coach, too, because I feel bad for our girls.’
North Harrison finished with a winning record at 17-16. The Lady Cats will lose four seniors, and Briscoe said each had her own individual talents.
‘Rachel (Adams) had her best offensive game of the year,’ Briscoe said.
‘She was really able to control her hits. She’s a little girl, but she can jump for somebody her size. Sometimes I don’t think she knows she’s getting up as high as she actually is.
‘Sam Hoehn developed into a great defensive player. Her serve is good, too, because it’s nice and flat. She doesn’t get too high off the net and when it gets across it dies. Sam’s my cardiac arrest player, because every time a ball comes in her direction, I don’t think she’s going to get it, then she throws something around and it able to get a perfect pass in the ball.
‘Liz (Cassabella) has hit the ball all year. When I took over this program three years ago and looked at the sophomores and juniors I had then, I probably would not have picked Liz Cassabella to be the offensive player that she’s developed into. She’s really worked hard. Liz is just nice and relaxed and gets a lot of kills.
‘Kim (Doty) will probably take years to like me. As a sophomore, I made her the setter of the varsity team and this is the first year she’s run it all by herself. She’s done a great job all year long.
‘Without Kim running the offense, Wynn is not the player she is and so is Liz. She’s pulled Angela (Cassabella) and Caitlyn (Janes) along in practice and helped to develop their skills.’
Soon, Briscoe will start developing next year’s team.
‘Club volleyball season is right around the corner,’ he said. ‘Our AAU is almost here, and I’ve got a lot of girls where this is their only sport. The more I can get playing that, the better our program is going to be in the future.’