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Floyd Central gets sharp over Silver Creek


September 04, 2019
The Floyd Central Lady Highlanders sliced and diced their way through a five-game slug-fest last Monday against visiting Silver Creek to win their home opener before a big crowd of volleyball lovers. The Lady Highlanders are coming into the new season with a young group of eager players who first had to beat back their nerves.

HOBACK
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Floyd Central senior Kassidy Hoback holds on to this return in the second game of the Lady Highlanders' five-game win over visiting Silver Creek. Photo By Wade Bell
"We played a lot of kids," Floyd Central coach Bart Powell said. "There were times where we were really good, then we would let them make big runs. One of my freshmen admitted being really nervous, and she's played in a lot of big matches in her life. She was a little nervous, and I totally expected them to be that way. At one point, we've got three sophomores, two freshmen and a senior on the court. So, we're going to play like we're young."

It appeared the Lady Dragons were going to dominate as they pulled away to a 19-10 lead in game one. Floyd Central slowly chewed its way back into the game then ran off seven straight points to close the game to 21-20.

Moments later, Kylie Minnis killed twice to tie the game at 22. On the next side-out, the Lady Highlanders went out in front on a Caroline Hilbrich hammer. Two errors were costly for the Lady Dragons, with Floyd Central getting the 25-23 win.

"We were a lot nervous," Powell said. "They've got to work through it. I see it in practice every day, and it's hills and valleys, hills and valleys. That's why you play the good teams, to get better."

In game two, the teams battled through a much closer set. The lead changed hands through the first part of the game with Silver Creek keeping a slight edge until it erred for a 15-all tie. A service ace by Bella Hinton put the Lady Dragons back in front. From there, Silver Creek cruised to a 25-16 win.

"It was good volleyball and 'Z' (Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman) always does a good job with his kids," Powell said. "They've improved a lot in the last month, because we saw them at the Purdue camp and they weren't that sharp. They're going to get good by the end of the year, too."

Floyd Central looked like it was going to own game three, racing to a 9-1 lead. Silver Creek charged back with a 12-3 run to take a 13-12 advantage. Following a Floyd Central timeout, Silver Creek missed on serve and Kayden Holcomb killed to put the Lady Highlanders back up front.

After the Floyd Central lead later went to three on a Kyra Sharp kill, the Lady Dragons called timeout. Following the break, Hinton blocked twice for kills, putting the Lady Dragons back in front by one. Silver Creek erred on the next side-out. Sharp pounded in another kill for Floyd Central, and Anna Hilbrich aced to put the Lady Highlanders up for good, as they went on for a 25-21 win.

Game four was just as tight with 10 ties and six lead changes to a 10-all tie. Hinton killed for the Lady Dragons, who got a foothold and extended their lead to six, 19-13. The Lady Highlanders punched their way to within one as Sharp got two blocks for kills and drilled a third.

The two teams traded points, keeping Floyd Central within a single point, but the Lady Highlanders hit out of bounds on their next serve, and the game went to Silver Creek, 25-23, sending the match to a fifth game.

Game five began as a swap meet between the two teams with the advantage going to the Lady Dragons until Hinton made a hitting error and Silver Creek hit out of bounds on its next side-out to give Floyd Central the advantage. The lead then went to four on kills by Holcomb and Maddie Hunter.

From there, with the help of a big save by Audrey Landers and a surprise dink by Lizzy Kane, Floyd Central put up the final five points of the game and came away with the 15-7 game and match win.

"Our first-ball contacts won us that last set," Powell said. "I'm not sure we didn't have three options most of the set. My back (row) did an awesome job of serve-receive that last set."

"Then, we blocked Hinton, and you could just see the air go out of them," he said. "We kept trying to block her all night, and she wouldn't allow us. She played a great match. She sees the block and hits around the block, and we finally got her there at the end."

Sharp had a big hammer for the Lady Highlanders with 21 kills. Holcomb had 15 kills, and Minnis finished with seven. Floyd Central missed 12 serves, delivered five service aces and had 33 errors.

"Sharp was good," Powell said. "She lost her swing in that third set and got her mind back in the fourth and fifth. She's a weapon, and, if we can pass as good as we passed in that fifth set and she's one-on-one, she's going to win most of the battles."

Powell said Kane's tip in game five even surprised him.

"I just gave her a gold star in the locker room for that point," he said. "That was very unexpected. Normally, I can read it, and I had told her that we're running middle, and she's got thumped running out of middle, and I didn't expect to see her do it at that crucial point of the match. So, that was a back-breaker."

Macie Garrison led Silver Creek with 15 kills, and Hinton followed with 14 kills and three aces on serve. Anna Dablow hit for nine kills, and Katie Hawkins finished with seven. The Lady Dragons missed six serves and punched five service aces. Silver Creek had 28 errors.

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