TRAFALGAR — Two county volleyball teams exited in the second round of Saturday’s Class 3A Sectional 27 at Indian Creek. The Danville Warriors and the Tri West Bruins weren’t able to keep up with their opponents when it mattered most.
Tri-West battled the Shelbyville Golden Bears in the first match. Tri-West led the first and third sets in convincing fashion — up by as many as eight — but both times Shelbyville stormed back on runs that left Tri-West scrambling.
Shelbyville went on to defeat Tri-West 25-16, 25-26 and 25-22.
“Coming into this sectional knowing Shelbyville was the bigger school, I think we were a little nervous to start out with,” Tri-West coach Stacey Rogers said. “We played really well that first set and got our confidence up when we were ahead thinking we had a good chance to do this thing but Shelbyville is just a really good team.”
Tri-West put together solid runs in all three matches as junior Kristen Buss and senior Marisa Meyer’s combined 14 kills that came during moments of much-needed boosts in momentum.
Rogers said the Bruins would take what they learned and apply it to next season.
“I know our seniors wanted the sectional for themselves really bad and I know it’s the hardest on them, but I have some younger players who are ready to go after it and ready for next year,” Rogers said. “We’re not really young, we were just inexperienced. To have those same players back on the court, that’s how you win volleyball matches.”
Danville’s afternoon match was a mirror image of its county rival.
Danville’s first set looked like its day was going to end just as quickly as the Bruins. Beech Grove Hornets took the first set with a 25-17 win.
In the second set, though, the Warriors fought back with a strong effort to win 25-22 and seized some momentum.
“We did a nice job of fighting,” Danville coach Shea Pierson said. “We told them that playing as a team will get them a lot further and the few times our teamwork fell apart we did a great job of coming together to fight as a team and I’m proud of that.”
Despite elimination, a hard-fought battle for the right to play for the sectional title and finishing a season with 20 wins is a moral victory all in it’s own. Especially after winning only six games last season.
While the seniors will now move on, the returning Warriors look forward with anticipation. Sophomore Olivia Hartman recorded 12 kills, five aces and five blocks to add to sophomores Jazzy Larsen and Brooke Hampton’s 15 combined kills.
“We told our seniors they had an awesome season and that they brought the program up (with a) huge jump (in wins),” Pierson. “We’re definitely moving up.
“We start four sophomores and a freshman, so I’ll have all of those girls returning and that’s great for next year because my girls are really good about working hard in the offseason. A lot of them play club ball and we will start conditioning in January and hit the ground running.”