Floyd folds to Trinity Lutheran
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Floyd Central girls’ volleyball team played its final home match of the regular season last Monday against visiting Trinity Lutheran with hopes of gaining momentum toward this week’s sectional run. What coach Bart Powell hoped would be a good night for his team turned into a disaster with the Lady Highlanders suffering a 3-2 loss to the scrappy Cougars.
“I knew they were good,” said a frustrated Powell following the loss. “They’re 22-4, and we faced a good coach. I don’t know what they’re ranked in 1A, but they’re really good. They do a lot of good things. They got beat by Providence in four or five and got beat by Seymour in five. They played some really good defense.”
There were indicators that made it look like it was going to be an easy night for the Lady Highlanders with Floyd Central racing out to a 15-6 lead in the first set following back-to-back kills by Kaylee Hunt. At that point, however, something changed. The Cougars began changing up their tactics going hard at times then suddenly backing off on their attacks. Trinity Lutheran chewed into the Floyd Central lead and made an 8-1 run to go out in front 22-21. From there, the two teams went through a swap meet. By the end of the game, however, the Cougars held the advantage with a 27-25 win.
Trinity Lutheran’s momentum carried over into the second game until the Lady Highlanders punched in three straight kills from Hunt and Natalie Lostutter and got a service ace by Keegan Kaiser for a 13-10 Floyd Central lead. Trinity Lutheran held its composure and closed the gap back to one. Again, the two teams traded points back and forth then Trinity Lutheran had a 3-0 burst to go back in front, 20-19.
Moments later, Lostutter fired in a kill and Hunt delivered an ace to put Floyd Central back in front by one. The Cougars called timeout, and what followed was a long, wild volley that the Lady Highlanders finally won on a Lostutter kill. Trinity Lutheran hit out of bounds twice on the next two plays, and Floyd Central got game two 25-21.
Game three was another wild session with neither team leading by more than three and that happened three times. In the late going, Floyd Central led 22-19, forcing Trinity Lutheran to call timeout. After the break, the Cougars made a 4-0 run to go back in front by one forcing Floyd Central to call timeout. Caroline Hilbrich delivered a kill following the break, but it wasn’t enough. Bailey Tabeling immediate countered with a kill and Stella Kleffman aced on the last side-out for a 25-23 win.
“We were up 22-19 in the first, 22-19 in the third and lost them both,” said Powell. “We’ve got to figure something out because we’re too close to the tournament right now.”
Floyd Central regrouped and played to a 25-19 win in game four, sending the match into a tie-breaker. Just as it was in the four previous sets, the two teams hammered at each other back and forth with the Cougars staying in front to a 7-4 edge. The Cougars hit out of bounds on their next volley. Callie Celichowski tipped for the Lady Highlanders to start a 3-1 burst and an 8-8 tie.
Moments later, the Cougars made two more hitting mistakes, giving Floyd Central an 11-9 lead, Trinity Lutheran calling timeout. The Lady Highlanders came out of the break and hit out of bounds, but Trinity Lutheran also erred. Floyd Central hit into the net, but Hunt followed with a kill, keeping the Lady Highlanders in front by two, 13-11. That didn’t last long as the Cougars scored the next three points. Floyd Central called timeout, and Lostutter got a quick kill for a 14-14 tie. From there, it belonged to the Cougars as Tabeling and Bingham delivered kills for the 16-14 win.
“It was just mental breakdowns,” said Powell. “It was a mental breakdown at the end of the first set. It was a mental breakdown at the end of the third set, a mental breakdown at the end of the fifth set. The kids are experienced and they know better than what they’re doing. It really frustrated me to death. We should have won that in three, obviously.”
Lostutter led the Lady Highlanders with 17 kills, and Hunt had 16 kills and a pair of service aces. Celichowski finished with 10 kills, and Kylie Minnis had eight kills. Hilbrich punched in seven kills, Jenna Heidbreder four kills and Kaiser delivered four aces on serve. The Lady Highlanders missed 14 serves, had 9 aces and had 33 errors.
“We took some really nice swings at some crucial times and we did a lot of things, but it was tied at nine and we thumped one in the net,” said Powell. “Then, we tried to set a ball from 30 feet, which why anyone would try to do that is beyond me, then we missed a serve.”
Ruthie Bingham led the Cougars with 18 kills and Tabeling had 17 kills for the night. Carson Bowling fired in 12 kills, and Stella Kleffman had four kills and four aces. The Cougars missed nine serves and had 9 aces. Trinity Lutheran erred 26 times.
“When we changed the lineup in the fourth set, they were going over the top of Mandy (Hess),” Powell said. “Mandy was playing front row, and they were working on that corner. They didn’t work so much on the other corner. … ”
“We’ve still got five matches left, so we’ve got to figure out something and figure out how to turn the tables a little bit,” said Powell.
The Lady Highlanders followed that loss winning all of their final five matches on the road. Floyd Central disposed of North Oldham on Thursday in Kentucky then went to Carmel on Saturday to win over Brownstown, Bloomington South, Mount Vernon, and Tri-West Hendricks to take a 19-11 record into the this week’s Providence sectional.