Digs & defense lift NH over Corydon
Rivals North Harrison and Corydon Central donned pink jerseys last Tuesday and most of the crowd was decked out in custom ‘Dig Pink’ T-shirts during a contest between the volleyball teams.
North Harrison bounced back after dropping game three to beat the Lady Panthers, 26-24, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, in the second annual Dig Pink Classic.
Living to the moniker Dig Pink, the North Harrison back line proved to be one of the difference makers in the game. Lady Cats libero Amber Longest covered much of the back row, digging out many balls. Front-line players for North Harrison were strong on the block as well.
‘Amber Longest, anchoring our defense, was just awesome,’ North Harrison coach Wes Briscoe said. ‘She didn’t make some plays there at the end of the match because she was freaking tired. She probably had over 40 digs. That’s a lot of defense.’
The overall defense pleased the Lady Cats coach.
‘Our defense kept us in the match,’ he said. ‘(Kayla Elsea’s) block was good tonight. Giles’ block was good tonight. We pretty much regulated (Reagan) Mosley out of the middle. The block was so good that, when she did have a chance to swing, our defense was set up on the back row. All around, it was a good defensive game.’
‘We are young and athletic, but we struggle with mental toughness and competition,’ said Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe, who is the mother of the Lady Cats coach. ‘I just felt like we were equal tonight. I felt like home court is always an advantage. We actually played better in the ‘Dig Pink’ this year than we did last year, so that’s a plus.’
Corydon Central led 8-5 in game one before North Harrison reeled off 10 of the next 12 points. Kayla Elsea, Hayley Renneker, Emily Giles had kills and a Rebekah Stephenson tip highlighted the spurt. Corydon Central rallied to tie the opening game several times, including eventually taking a 23-22 lead off of a Reagan Mosley ace.
Following a North Harrison time-out, the Lady Cats won four of the next five points. Kendra Lambert landed a kill to give North Harrison a 25-24 lead, and was followed by a Corydon Central hitting error to end game one.
Game three was tight until North Harrison went on another big run midway through. Seven consecutive points, capped by a Lambert ace, gave the Lady Cats a 15-9 edge. The Lady Panthers got no closer than three points late in the game. Brooke Lamon, Giles and Lambert notched kills to close the game.
‘Brooke did very well offensively,’ Wes Briscoe said. ‘That was a shining point for us, I feel like, and Emily Giles, when we needed to get a ball and get a kill, she was able to do that for us.’
Game three was a turnaround for Corydon Central. Despite another big Lady Cats run of six consecutive points to build a 12-8 North Harrison lead, Corydon Central rallied back.
Following a Renneker kill to give North Harrison a 19-17 lead, Corydon Central found a groove. Mosley landed a kill, and Payton Windell served an ace to tie the game. Following a Lady Cats error, Corydon Central’s Justice Avery blocked a winner and later logged a kill. Avery ended game two with a winning block, forcing a game four. Avery finished with a team-best 11 kills, followed by 10 from Windell.
‘Justice has come such a long way in wanting to lead on the court,’ Kim Briscoe said. ‘She is being very receptive of us moving her from the middle to the outside and back to the middle. She is so quick and strong. If we can get her snapping the ball, it would go real well with her vertical. The Windell kid played her guts out the last few games.’
North Harrison regained control as quickly as game four started. Three of the first four points came on Renneker kills. Giles winners, combined with Corydon Central errors, led to North Harrison opening game four with a 14-2 lead.
Corydon Central fought back to make it a game when Mosley and Windell found an offensive groove. A Symphony LeJeune ace drew the Lady Panthers within four points at 17-13.
North Harrison, however, was able to grind its way to 25 points, closing with a 25-21 victory on a Lambert winning tip.
‘We couldn’t capitalize on the boatload of errors that Corydon Central was making all night long,’ Wes Briscoe said. ‘It was like we kind of played relaxed, because, OK, they’re about ready to screw up for three or four points in a row. We never really felt like we had to push and force the issue against them, because that’s what happened.’
Giles led the Lady Cats offense with 19 kills, while Lamon (14) and Renneker (11) reached double digits. Longest contributed four aces as well.
The Corydon Central coach is focused on getting the Lady Panthers better in the final month of the season.
‘Wins and losses isn’t a good conversation,’ Kim Briscoe said. ‘What is a good conversation is I have four kids that played as freshman and sophomore hitters last year, and now they are playing as sophomores and juniors. To have a senior swinger that could take over games would be a luxury for us. But we do have a senior setter (Morgan Mosley) that is trying to bring these kids together with a lot of effort.’
Players’ jerseys were auctioned off after the game to help raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness through Relay For Life.
North Harrison will return to action tomorrow (Thursday) at Austin, while Corydon Central will travel Saturday to Heritage Hills.