Braves take advantage of errors, sweep Owls


Over the past few weeks, Brownstown Central’s volleyball team has focused on closing-out matches and holding on to big leads.

Against one of its biggest rivals, the Braves left no room for doubt on their home floor Tuesday.

Brownstown Central (16-10) never trailed, and just tied Seymour (7-21) just once — at 1-1 in the first set — in a 25-16, 25-13, 25-13 victory over its Jackson County foes.

The first set featured a handful of long, contested points.

Despite battling-it-out, the Owls struggled to get rolling.

The Braves and Owls stayed within three points of each other until BC won four straight, on a trio of Seymour attacking errors and a kill by Keeli Darlage, to go up 15-11.

Brownstown widened their lead by taking seven straight points, on serves from Darlage, to build a 21-12 lead. In that span, the Braves’ Claire Pace had three kills in-a-row.

An error by the Owls’ front row closed the set at 25-16.

“I feel like, at the beginning, we had a rough start and then started to come into it,” Seymour coach Holly Birdsong said. “We just got down and kind of lost hope in ourselves.”

The Braves took advantage of multiple errors by the Owls to go up 7-2 early in the second set.

Dropping five straight points, the Owls called a timeout down 11-2. Out of the break, Jessica Blevins temporarily stopped the Braves’ momentum with a kill.

The remainder of the set, it was all the Braves as the Owls again failed to string together points.

BC steadily built their lead to as many as 12 points before a hit from Addie Wilkerson closed the set at 25-13.

With two kills from Pace, and one from Grace Jaynes, the Braves went up 6-3 early in the third set.

The Owls stayed within three points until a kill by the Braves sparked a 6-0 run, putting the hosts up 17-8.

Brownstown dropped just five points the rest of the way before a passing error sunk the Owls 25-13.

Pace led the Braves with 15 kills while Darlage and Jaynes each totaled nine. Snodgrass had 22 digs and Darlage pushed across two aces.

Brownstown coach Jennifer Shade said she was pleased with the team’s efforts from front to back.

“We’ve really been working on starting strong and staying on top,” Shade said. “We’ve lost a lot of close matches where we’ve had teams creep back in on us. Our goal is to get the first play of the game and then stay ahead. For us to dominate from the beginning, that’s important for us.”

Blevins paced SHS with five kills and Emily Corcoran had 18 digs. The Owls didn’t have an ace in the match, going 27-for-32 on serves.

Birdsong said she expected more from the team.

“We knew it was going to be strong competition going into the match,” she said. “I just don’t feel like the girls played as hard as they could have tonight. I think there’s more in there than they’re giving right now.”

The Owls will host Bedford North Lawrence Oct. 3, and the Braves will play at Providence on Thursday.

Shade feels good about the team as the postseason draws closer.

“I love this team,” Shade said. “We’ve had a great season, but we’re so far from being done. I think we’re playing really good volleyball right now. We have some strong competition coming up, and hopefully that will have us playing our best volleyball at the end of the season.”