‘Cleanest game’ leads to CC win
Pink dominated the posts of Corydon Central’s gymnasium for the annual Dig Pink Classic between the Lady Panthers and rival North Harrison on Sept. 25.
Corydon Central put together its best game of the season in the opener then had to rally back in the final two to defeat the Lady Cats 25-9, 25-22, 25-23.
The bleachers were filled with specially designed black and pink T-shirts to commemorate the event. Five hundred T-shirts were ordered and sold, with proceeds benefiting the respective school’s Relay for Life fund. Players from North Harrison donned white shirts with pink and black lettering, while the host work black with pink and white lettering.
‘We’ve worked hard on this all day and for a few weeks,’ Corydon Central coach Kim Briscoe said. ‘This continues to be a big, great event we put on for all the right reasons.’
Behind the serves of Maria Schmidt, Corydon Central rolled to a fast start in the opening game. Payton Windell flipped the switch on for the Lady Panthers offense, successfully putting down the first three points. Four Lady Cats miscues, along with a two kills from Corydon Central’s Ally Miller and another from Windell gave their team a 10-0 lead.
North Harrison finally got on the board with a Carlie Burson spike, but the Lady Panthers kept rolling. Windell added two aces during another spurt, along with a pair of Reagan Mosley kills, to launch Corydon Central further ahead, 16-2.
Abigail Saulman added a winner of her own at one point for the Lady Panthers as their opponents failed to gain traction. Corydon Central eventually won the opener, 25-9, after Schmidt capped the game with an ace.
‘That was probably the cleanest game we’ve played this year to date,’ Briscoe said. ‘(Setter) Catherine (Day) is doing a nice job getting things going. The way we’ve typically played is when we pass well, we swing well; if we don’t pass well, we don’t swing well. That is the secret to volleyball.’
For North Harrison, it was about forgetting the first game.
‘After the first game, we said it’s gone. It’s done,’ Lady Cats coach Alexis Speer said.
And that’s what they did.
Kills from Kendra Lambert, Brooke Lamon and Burson help lead North Harrison to a 9-3 lead in game two. Kaylin Bright had several digs on the back line for the Lady Cats to keep play going many times.
The lead ballooned to 12-7 after a Corydon Central side out. From that point on, the Lady Panthers roared back. Smashes from Chelsea John and Windell allowed Corydon Central to grind back to eventually tie the game at 15.
Play went back and forth until another Schmidt ace forced North Harrison to call a time-out. Bethany Wiley provided a North Harrison kill out of the break, but the line of Windell and Mosley led to the Corydon Central win.
‘We’ve gotten ahead last week against Silver Creek and other good teams,’ Speer said. ‘We got ahead tonight against another good team, but we can’t finish it off.’
Speer added the team is struggling with on-the-court communication.
‘Our biggest struggle right now, it isn’t passing, setting or hitting; it’s communication. We don’t have it. It isn’t there,’ she said. ‘Corydon didn’t outplay us; we made errors and didn’t talk. I can’t stress it much more to these girls.’
Game three went a similar path of the second. North Harrison rose to a 12-7 lead behind three Lamon kills and two from Maddie Janes.
Corydon Central responded with a 5-0 run to knot the match with two Symphony LeJeune aces and a pair of Miller winners.
Gaining momentum again, North Harrison strolled ahead 18-15, then, via a Burson kill, led 22-19.
Out of a time-out, Corydon Central surrendered just one more point the rest of the way. Offensively, Schmidt added another ace. When the game was tied at 23, Windell looked prepared for a big swing but tipped the ball just over the net to a bare spot, setting up match point.
‘Payton can swing hard, but she has to think about her primary swing and her outlet,’ Briscoe said. ‘She’s gotten better at that and (is) just a very athletic kid. She’s a gem, and we have several of them.’
On the finale, North Harrison was whistled for a lift, ending the match.
‘When we were ahead, it seems like we are 10 points down when you look at our emotions on the court,’ Speer said. ‘There is no celebration. We didn’t move our feet very well tonight, but I don’t think that killed us. It was lacking the want to kill the ball. We need to be aggressive.’
Briscoe said the team welcomed back Kaitlyn Logsdon when she moved back to Corydon recently, giving the team another option up front.
‘We are trying to work a player into the lineup that got 10 practices in who transferred back,’ she said of Logsdon. ‘We’re trying to see different combinations in the middle and the right, when we have Catherine in the back row with Payton and Ally. We want to see who works well with Reagan. We’re about one rotation away from being a solid team.’
The win put Corydon Central’s record at 15-5.
‘We expected to be on a path to get to 20 wins this season,’ Briscoe said. ‘But expectations and getting the job done are two different things. We really have to work harder in practice to get there. We’re pushing them harder in practice.’
North Harrison will return to the court tomorrow (Thursday) when the Lady Cats host Austin. Corydon Central will travel Saturday to Heritage Hills.