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Corydon Central spikes Lady Cats in 3

Corydon Central spikes Lady Cats in 3
Corydon Central spikes Lady Cats in 3
Volleyball teams from both North Harrison and Corydon Central join together to form a ribbon before the Dig Pink Coaches Against Cancer volleyball match last Tuesday night. More than $2,000 was raised for cancer research. Photos by Wade Bell
Wade Bell, Sports Writer

North Harrison and Corydon Central got together for their annual Dig Pink, Coaches Against Cancer, volleyball match last Tuesday night and raised more than $2,000 for cancer research during the night with the bleachers turning into a sea of pink. On the court, however, the Lady Panthers turned into a red fireball, blistering the Lady Cats in a 3-game onslaught.

Corydon Central spikes Lady Cats in 3
Corydon Central’s Kimi Wolfe slaps a shot over North Harrison’s Libby Sparks in the second set of the Lady Panthers’ 3-0 sweep of the Lady Cats.

“We got to meet them at a tourney here recently and it was really close matches at that tourney,” said Corydon Central coach Chrissy Tuchscherer. “We’ve had a couple of key players get quarantined this week, so it was a good feeling all the way around. The girls worked incredibly hard on the court. They fixed some mistakes we had last night against Rock Creek (Community Academy) and got a win there. Sometimes you win and it feels all right, but tonight feels very solid. I’m very comfortable and very proud of them tonight.”

“It was a rough night,” said North Harrison coach Caitlyn Burson. “It was a rough start. You have to give them credit. They want to win so bad, and they bust their butts for every single ball. They’re good. They’re a very good team, and they were missing one of their best players. To be able to do that and coming out just guns blazing, you have to give them credit for that.”

Game one turned the Lady Cats pink with embarrassment as the Lady Panthers pounded in six quick points, forcing Burson to call timeout. After the break, Corydon Central racked up seven more points for a 13-0 start to the match. North Harrison got a few of those back with a 5-0 burst, but Corydon Central countered with eight more. The Lady Cats never regained any momentum and fell 25-9.

“They get a lot of confidence as they start to get some aces and get some kills,” Tuchscherer said. “We had really good net play at the beginning of that game. It’s not hard to be confident when you have a 13-0 run on somebody. It wasn’t like (Eden Harris) was acing them. Our defense had to keep working, and our girls on the front row were aggressive. Our passes were on the money, so we got into a very nice groove from the very beginning.”

North Harrison regrouped and came out with more fight in game two. The two teams traded the lead four times to the midway point of the set until Kailee Flanders and Aslynn Tracy delivered back-to-back kills that started a 7-0 run. The Lady Cats got one of those back, but Corydon Central finished with a 5-0 burst and a 25-14 win.

The Lady Panthers started game three with a 4-1 advantage but this time the Lady Cats fired back and tied the game at five. Kyra Case and Andrea Ness later put North Harrison in front with kills, but Corydon Central immediately countered and pushed to a 12-8 edge. The Lady Cats rallied again and traded the lead four more times. The Lady Panthers finally put away the set and match with a 6-0 run for a 25-18 win.

“This game is a really emotional game,” said Tuchscherer. “It’s a county rival. It’s a sectional rival. It’s a conference rival. It becomes a lot about focus and maintaining your focus and getting comfortable. It took us a while to get comfortable but, once we did, our comfortable zone gives us confidence.”

“The second and third games both we changed things around a little bit, and we just talked about making adjustments on every single ball instead of waiting five or six balls to make adjustments,” Burson said. “We talked about finding the holes, and we talked about playing like you enjoy it and you want to be here. You have nothing to lose after a first set like that. You just have to let it go and try to move on and do the best you can in set two.”

Jaiden Cantrell led the Lady Panthers with 14 kills. Jenna McCarty, Flanders and Tracy finished with four kills each, and Audrey Oxley punched in four aces on serve. Corydon Central missed eight serves, delivered 10 aces and finished with 14 errors.

“(Cantrell) was telling her setter what she needed, and her setters are responding,” said Tuchscherer. “It was great communication tonight. If they didn’t connect 100%, they were talking to each other and they were figuring it out between the games. That’s what we really like to see. Even when the ball’s not in play, we’re still working on getting to be better and setting ourselves up for success.”

Bri Fawver led North Harrison with two kills and two aces on serve. The Lady Cats missed five serves, delivered four aces and had 29 errors. Burson said the last two losses, against Scottsburg and now Corydon Central, have been serious setbacks.

“They’re huge setbacks because that’s guts and that’s fight,” she said. “We can’t practice that. It has to be inherent in your group. Right now, we just need to find the six or eight people that have it and are going to play all of the time because I think it’s seeping into the people who do have that guts and fight, that, if these people aren’t going to do it, why should I? We have to fix that as a team or else it’s going to continue to be a rough two weeks.”

“This is a big push for us,” said Tuchscherer moving toward the sectional. “We had a back and forth in the third game. They didn’t lose their focus in that third match. They stayed aggressive. That’s where we’re trying to keep ourselves at, making big power plays even when we’re at 17-17 or 18-18, going back and forth. You have to keep that aggression on our hits. That stayed with us all night tonight, so we’ll take that going forward.”