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Fiery Lady Panthers down Scottsburg in four

Fiery Lady Panthers down Scottsburg in four
Fiery Lady Panthers down Scottsburg in four
Corydon Central’s volleyball team celebrates winning a long rally in the fourth set against rival Scottsburg on Sept. 20. The Lady Panthers went back and forth with the Warriorettes before walking away with a 3-1 victory. Photo by Brandon Miniard
Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

Just two days after finishing 2-1 at the annual South Central Rowdy Rebel Invitational, the Corydon Central volleyball team found itself back on its home turf as it welcomed Mid-Southern Conference-rival Scottsburg last Monday.

For the Lady Panthers, this matchup meant more than just position in the MSC standings. This one was personal. A year ago, the Warriorettes were responsible for ending the Lady Panthers’ season with a sweep in the first round of sectional.

With revenge on their minds, the Lady Panthers needed a couple of sets to hit their stride, battling the Warriorettes before coming out on top in four sets, 18-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23.

“They took us out of sectional last year, so we kind of had a vendetta with them,” Panthers skipper Chrissy Tuchscherer said. “We played them a couple of times in the summer, so we’ve been watching them closely.”

The first set saw both sides start out evenly matched, splitting the first 16 points before the Warriorettes began to rally late, eventually pulling away to win the opener 25-18. As soon as the set ended, the Lady Panthers ran out into a nearby hallway as Tuchscherer tried to get her squad back on track.

Whatever Tuchscherer said to the Lady Panthers between sets, it began to resonate after the Warriorettes won 12 of the first 20 points to begin the second set. Not wanting to fall into a 2-0 hole, the Lady Panthers roared into the set lead on a 14-6 run before a Warriorettes’ net violation gave the hosts Lady Panthers a 25-20 victory to tie the match.

“Honestly, I feel like we just underestimated ourselves (in the first set) because we lost to Scottsburg in sectional last year,” senior Aslynn Tracy said. “Last year, I feel like we got a little carried off on wanting to beat them, then they took us away from that, so I feel like that’s what got us a little bit.”

With the energy levels mostly on their side, the Lady Panthers once again fought throughout the third set before a soft kill by senior Jade Gohl barely trickled over the net and into Warriorettes’ territory to take both a 25-18 win and a 2-1 match edge.

“I honestly think that was the best energy that we’ve ever had,” Tracy said. “It’s crazy how much energy could elevate you just for winning one set. We’re crazy, honestly.”

The fourth set felt similar to a sectional atmosphere as the Lady Panthers and Warriorettes brought their best play to the period, with neither able to pull away. Tied at 17, the Lady Panthers mustered one last 7-3 surge to force match point. Fans in attendance could feel their fingernails getting shorter as the Warriorettes mustered one last run of their own, recording three straight points to bring the deficit to 24-23.

Lady Luck smiled on the Lady Panthers in what was the final rally of the night, as a long hit landed right on the line near the left-hand corner of the Warriorettes’ territory. Despite challenges by both Warriorettes’ coaches and fans, the first referee ruled the call in favor of the Lady Panthers, giving the hosts a tight 25-23 set and 3-1 match victory.

“I think that was a great call by the ref; she didn’t allow a kid to make that call, and that’s a lot of pressure,” Tuchscherer said. “She took matters into her own hands and saw a ball that went in, so she called it and was very confident with it. We were glad to have put that ball on the line and finish the game out strong.”

While the final call was one of the closest one might ever see in a volleyball match, to the point where some Lady Panthers believed it was out, there were no complaints from those players in black and gold.

“Honestly, I thought it was out,” Tracy said. “I think the ref was ready to get out of here because it was late, but I really loved the call. I thought it was really good for us.”

Offensively, the Lady Panthers were once again led by the senior duo of Savannah Moberly and Tracy, who notched 10 and seven kills, respectively. The Warriorettes were led by senior Anne Marie Meagher’s 18 kills, while freshman Haiden Means chipped in nine.

The Lady Panthers’ victory was fueled in part by their defense, particularly near the floor. Junior Audrey Oxley had a stellar night in this regard with 24 digs, while sophomore Taylor Wade notched 13 and Moberly contributed 10. Moberly also led the way at the net with three blocks. Defensively, the Warriorettes were led by Meagher’s 13 digs and junior Haylie Smith’s four blocks.

The Lady Panthers followed their victory over the Warriorettes by sweeping Paoli a day later before being swept by rival Salem on Thursday. This week’s matches for the Lady Panthers included hosting Rock Creek Community Academy on Monday, followed by confronting county rival North Harrison in Ramsey yesterday (Tuesday). Tomorrow, they are to travel to New Albany to face Christian Academy of Indiana starting at 6 p.m.