October 23, 2019When the Crawford County Lady Pack played Henryville in their final volleyball match of the regular season, Crawford County battled through three tough games but failed to get enough momentum to finish with a win.
At last Tuesday night's Class 2A Henryville Sectional, the rematch saw Crawford County come out with more fire and force, but the Lady Hornets had just a little bit more heat and got a 3-1 win.
Crawford County's Lexie Fraime gets a shot by Henryville's Riley Nunn in the first game. The Lady Pack went on to fall 3-1 to the Lady Hornets, ending Crawford County's season. Photo By Wade Bell
"We've had games where we beat ourselves, and I told them, 'Henryville is a good team. There's nothing to hang your head about'," said Crawford County coach Julie Adams. "They beat a lot of teams we lost to over the season, and they have a good defense. They've got good hitters. It's hard to compete with that."
The early part of the first game was a royal rumble between the two teams with neither wanting to cut the other slack. Henryville finally picked up some momentum for breathing room and took an 18-14 lead following a service ace by Riley Nunn. The Lady Hornets held on to the end of the set and got a 25-20 win.
"The only thing I changed was to put Haylea (Crandall) on my right side in hopes to get blocks where before we always had that one rotation where we may not always get one," said Adams. "By adding her over there, that helped out a lot. But, I also think it took her out of our offense where we didn't have as many kills from her. Our blocking tonight was not near where it usually is, and that hurt us."
Henryville started out with a 4-0 lead to begin game two, but Crawford County quickly battled back with four straight points and took the lead on a service ace by Lexie Fraime. The Lady Pack pushed their advantage to three, 9-6, until the Lady Hornets countered with four straight kills by Nunn and Charleigh Ryan to lead by one.
That lasted only briefly, however, as Crawford County found enough traction to pull away for a 19-12 advantage by going on the attack. The Lady Hornets made one final run, cutting their deficit to two following aces by Kylie Lacy but it wasn't enough as Crawford County went on to win 25-20.
Crawford County's only lead of game three came on the opening point when Fraime delivered a kill. Henryville outscored Crawford County 8-2 in its next run to lead by five. The Lady Pack slowly chewed their way back into the fight and closed the gap to one, 11-10. Henryville fired in the next four points, with Lacy delivering two aces to expand the Henryville lead to 15-10. From there, the Lady Hornets went on to secure a 25-16 win.
"We should have all the momentum in the world taken from them, and we turned around and gave them an 8-3 lead," said Adams.
At times, the ball would just not fall in Crawford County's favor.
"Whether it was a tip or a serve or a free-ball, I don't know if we just weren't registering what was happening, I don't know," Adams said. "There were a lot of balls that we would have got to those. I don't know if it was a difference in putting Haylea on the right side compared to where she's been on the left, I don't know."
Crawford County fought to keep the match going in game four, grabbing the lead early on but midway through the game Henryville went on an offensive rage that resulted in a 9-0 run and a 21-12 lead. That was the back-breaker for the Lady Pack who saw their season come to an end as the Lady Hornets got the game and match 25-17.
"We worked a lot on pushing to deep corners because they tend to (play closer to the net)," said Adams. "We didn't do that a whole lot tonight. We worked on that in practice. We just didn't do it. So, it's just stuff like that where it's frustrating that we didn't do those things. Who's to say it would have changed anything; possibly not. But, just pushing over on blocks, just covering on defense, yeah, if I could go back, I'd do a different thing."
Treasure Nickelson led the Lady Pack with nine kills and Crandall fired in eight kills. Fraime added five kills and two aces for Crawford County, which missed six serves, delivered seven aces and had 30 errors for the four games.
Nunn led Henryville with 11 kills and five aces with Kiley Lacy punching in 11 kills and three aces. Charleigh Ryan had nine kills and two aces, while Clair Tucker and Haley Terry finished with six kills each. Henryville missed nine serves, delivered 10 aces and had 31 errors.
Adams said the season was one of mixed emotions.
"I felt we should have done a lot better than we did," she said. "We had the potential. We had the athleticism. We had the athletes for sure for it. But, we fell short a lot ... But, overall they played well. They won the tourney at home, which usually doesn't happen. Last year was the first year they've won that so that was big. We won a lot of games people didn't think we would. We beat Tell City. We did a lot of really good things this year, and I think some of the younger girls, they're going to learn and it's going to be fun the next few years."
Crawford County loses four seniors from this year's team but has an experienced core unit of five sophomores coming back for at least the next two years.
"They all worked so hard, bless their hearts," said Adams of her upperclassmen. "They were in the locker room very upset. They have every right to be. They wanted it. Lexie player her butt off tonight. She had some amazing hits. She played extremely smart. She was digging very well ... Jacie (Kalk), the last few games her hands haven't been where they should have been at times. I think she was really frustrated there. I loved all those seniors. They all worked their butts off, and we're going to miss them for sure."
The future, however, is packed with youth.
"I'm losing three starters but some of those sophomores — Desi (Puckett), (Makaylin) Sheckells, Taylor (Herbaugh) — those three fell right in, every single one of them," Adams said. "Last year, Haylea was our right side, she was middle, she was outside. Sarah Stutzman came out of nowhere and led is in blocks. She led us in blocks and digs. She could do both. Treasure was huge in blocks and hitting. That's why I was frustrated. We had so much talent, and it was we didn't get to use a lot of it most of the time."