TRAFALGAR — Danville volleyball coach Shea Pierson said after a 3-1 loss to Beech Grove earlier in the season that her team needed to find a way to fight through adversity and it would be something they worked on throughout the year.
The Warriors certainly took Pierson’s teachings to heart as they battled through a five-set victory over Indian Creek in the opening round of sectional action Thursday night.
“We’ve been working in practice on our energy and keeping it up,” Pierson said. “I think it kind of showed tonight. They played well as a team. We spread the ball around and had a lot of hitters and I was happy about that.”
Danville took a 2-0 lead to begin the match before Indian Creek won the next two sets, forcing a fifth set.
“Our girls really played mentally tough,” Indian Creek coach Dennis Kieweg said. “It took us a while to get started but they worked their butts off and that’s what we needed.”
Off of eight consecutive points while Allie Lake served, Danville built a 9-1 first set lead and rode that to a 25-20 win.
“Allie can put the ball anywhere and that’s a good thing to have,” Pierson said.
Indian Creek jumped out to an 11-4 advantage in the second set, but Danville rallied back. Jazzy Larsen’s kill stopped the Braves’ run and then she served three aces in a five-point stretch, narrowing Indian Creek’s lead to a point.
Danville went on to a 25-22 win, much to Kieweg’s dismay.
“This is a game of momentum and I tell the girls that when you have it, you have to seize it and keep pushing,” he said.
Up 2-0, Danville was unable to close out Indian Creek as the Braves put forth a maximum effort in winning the next two sets 25-20 and 26-24.
With momentum, and the crowd, on its side, Indian Creek pulled ahead 2-0 in the fifth set. However, with the match tied at 3-3, Larsen stepped up with a kill and added another as the teams were knotted at 4-4. Larsen then sacrificed her body on two separate occasions to keep the ball alive, allowing her teammates to add extra points as Danville finished the match with a 15-7 win.
“Jazzy started playing all the way around for us this year and is a really solid player,” Pierson said. “She was solid from the serving line tonight along with defense and hitting in the front row.”
Larsen finished the night with a team-high 21 kills and Brooke Hampton added 10. Olivia Hartman added an impressive eight blocks while Lauren Catellier tallied 35 assists. Lake and Zoe Skinner each recorded six digs.
Danville (11-10) advances to play Beech Grove (11-15) after the first match between Tri-West and Shelbyville at 11 a.m. concludes Saturday.
With half a season between their first matchup, Pierson said she hopes the team has grown enough to overcome any mental hang up over their first clash with Beech Grove.
“We will watch film on Beech Grove,” Pierson said. “We will worry about that game first and then the finals when it gets there.”
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