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Lady Pack stings Henryville in 5

Lady Pack stings Henryville in 5
Lady Pack stings Henryville in 5
Crawford County senior Sarah Stutzman, left, fiinishes with 22 kills to lead Crawford County to a 3-2 win over visiting Henryville on Senior Night. Photo by Wade Bell
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer

The Crawford County girls’ volleyball team put itself on good footing going into this week’s sectional play when it held on through a five-game marathon to put a stinger in the visiting Henryville Lady Hornets on Senior Night. The two teams could possibly meet again if they get into the semi-finals on Saturday.

“Just the fact that Henryville is in the sectional, there’s a chance we could turn around and face them again,” said Crawford County coach Julie Adams. “They won sectional last year, so beating them is always good. We’ve not beat them in a long time. We usually do end the season in a loss, unfortunately, but it really feels good to end with a win.”

Crawford County came out firing on all cylinders, but the Lady Hornets still weren’t making it easy. The Lady Pack got some breathing room midway through game one after trading points back and forth early when they went in front 12-8. Henryville slowly chewed its way back in it and later tied the game at 15. From there, however, it was all Lady Pack, who finished the game with a 10-1 run for a 25-16 win.

“They came out and said, ‘Hey, not only is it Senior Night, it’s the last game on this court and you’ve got to put it all out there’,” said Adams. “I think they did every game. It’s just at times they slipped. I did run a couple of different rotations so things were different with other players. There was that one game where I had a possible injury, Taylor (Herbaugh) had some things. They worked hard even in the chaos.”

Crawford County roared out to a 9-1 lead in the second set, but Henryville finally found itself and slowly worked back into the game, closing the gap to one, 18-17, forcing Adams to call timeout. Henryville served into the net following the break, then Eden Talley punched in a kill for a 20-17 Crawford County edge.

Claire Tucker tipped for the Lady Hornets to start a 3-0 burst to tie the game at 20. The two teams traded points back and forth, but the exchange rate was going to Henryville’s favor. An error by Crawford County allowed a 23-23 tie. Taylor Long then swatted in a service ace and Kylie Lacy fired in a final kill for the Lady Hornets and a 25-23 win.

Game three was another close one, and Crawford County had to hold off another Henryville rally after leading by seven. The Lady Pack got a 25-22 win in that game. Henryville had more control in game four and carried through in that set to win 25-23, setting up a game five.

In the fifth set, the lead traded twice early, but then the Lady Hornets held the front spot until they erred with a four-hit for a 6-6 tie. Natalie Stroud ripped a shot to put Crawford County in front but that was negated by a Haley Terry kill. Emily Kerce punched a Crawford County kill, and Henryville hit out of bounds. Crawford County held the edge until the two teams tied at 10. Sarah Stutzman fired in back-to-back kills, putting Crawford County up for good, going on to win the game and match 15-12.

“Even though those two games that we lost we fought hard and when we had a good lead we lost momentum but, hey, we finished with a win,” Adams said. “We fought through game five. I’m proud of them.”

Adams said it was a good way to bounce back after getting swept by Mitchell the night before.

“The two things we didn’t have last night against Mitchell, blocking was there last night but our serving wasn’t,” she said. “I told them we’ve never been a strong serving team. I said if we can be a strong serving team, we can take other teams out of their offense. Even just putting the ball deeper, making them get that pass up to the net, it helps so much. That is something they did so well.”

Stutzman led the Lady Pack with 22 kills, and Kerce finished with 13 kills. Herbaugh fired in nine kills, and Stroud and Talley had five kills each. Desi Puckett added three kills and four service aces for the Lady Pack, who missed eight serves, served up eight aces and had 27 errors.

“A powerhouse in every direction,” Adams said of Stutzman. “She was blocking. She was hitting. Her defense was phenomenal. She got up several balls I probably wouldn’t have got. She hustled. She put it all on the court tonight … Desi Puckett, she had an 8-0 run (serving). That’s why I wanted her to be our first server because she’s one of our strongest as far as that deep serve. She’s powerful behind it. She did very well.”

Lacy had 25 kills to lead the Lady Hornets. Terry tallied up 12 kills, and Long had seven kills and four aces. Tucker had six kills and two aces for Henryville, which missed 10 serves and swatted in nine aces. The Lady Hornets finished with 36 errors for the five games.

Adams said Lacy played a smart game.

“She hit from the front row and the back row,” said the Crawford County coach. “She was a good hitter, but it was we weren’t reading her. They tell you, ‘I thought she was going to cross.’ But then she’d cut the line. That’s just a good hitter. I told them I can’t get mad about plays when there’s a good hitter. There’s nothing you can do when they hit around the block or they hit through our block. I get it. That’s what we should be doing. … ”

Crawford County will meet up with Mitchell again in its opening-round match of the Christian Academy of Indiana sectional. If the Lady Pack get past the Lady Bluejackets, they will meet the winner of the Eastern (Pekin)-Henryville match.

“We have almost a week of practices to get ready for Mitchell,” Adams said. “We’ll probably do multiple rotations too. I don’t know really if we’ll have a set one because it’s going to be against Mitchell and the next game after that too.”