Hard work pays off: Hornets sting Crothersville in clash of county rivals

For The Tribune


Medora volleyball coach Sara Todd said her team is scrappy and that it paid off during a 3-0 sweep of their county rival Crothersville on Thursday.

“We tell them to go after everything,” she said following her team’s 25-14, 25-23, 25-19 win. “It really showed tonight.”

The practicing and drills the team has been working on also showed throughout the night, Todd said.

“We’ve been practicing hard on blocking, picking up the tips, and they were just all over the place tonight,” she said. “Serving was good, picking up the tips were good and just all over the place.”

The Hornets got off to a start and built momentum throughout the first set. The team jumped to a quick 10-5 lead behind serving from Kailen Flynn, Kelsey Turner and Katie Beesley. Flynn had two aces during the span and eight in the game.

After a series of possession changes, the Hornets went up 20-10 after another six consecutive points by Turner.

The Hornets gave the ball back to the Tigers, and Sam Hurt scored two quick points on aces, but the Hornets earned the ball back and ended the set on a three-point run led by Alli Carney to capture the commanding 25-14 first- set win.

Todd said coming out and winning the first set lifted her team to use the momentum in the other sets.

“Once you start off strong, you get your confidence built up strong and you get the energy to go with it,” she said.

Tigers coach Kourtney Settle said the first set put her team down in a bad way.

“They don’t get energetic anymore, and it affects their playing,” she said.

“They get points, but if they’re down it seems like they don’t think it matters.”

The second set was much closer with both teams battling for points. Medora jumped to a 5-1 lead, but Crothersville would not go away easily and built its way back to only trail by one point after Bekah Cook led the team on a 4-0 run to bring the score to 12-11 in favor of the Hornets. The Hornets were able to give themselves some space and earned a few points on an error by Crothersville and another two points from Cook.

Crothersville made things interesting late in the set when Kaitlin McVey scored three-straight points to tie the game at 22. Medora earned the possession back and scored two points on serves from Marsadeez Phillips and won a point back from Crothersville to narrowly win the set 25-23.

Todd said her team showed a lot of mental toughness working their way through the second set since it was a hard-fought set and close.

“Their mentality is a lot better in these situations right now,” she said.

Todd said she values mental strength just as much as athleticism.

“Your mental game has to be just as good as your physical game.”

Medora jumped to a quick 6-0 start behind serves from Flynn to start the third set. The Hornets then increased the lead to 18-10 after dominating the floor at the net. After working their way closer to the Hornets, Makayla Helt led the Tigers through a five-point run to bring them within three at 18-15. The Tigers were then able to inch closer and brought the score to 20-18. That’s when Todd took a timeout to reset her team and told them to finish.

“I told them to keep scraping and play this one point at a time,” she said. “I told them that they needed to continue to go after everything.”

After trading possessions, the deficit was too much, and the Hornets won after serving from Carney and Phillips gave them a 25-19 victory.

Settle said her team played well toward the end of the third set and that she wanted to see her team play with that same determination throughout the entire game.

“I told them in the locker room that they went down 2-0, and they can’t wait until the third game to decide they want to play,” Settle said. “It’s frustrating because they get so close and they buckle and make one mistake and it goes downhill.”

Settle said the team had difficulty winning important points and struggled to win points at the net.

“They hit a lot of balls in the net,” she said. “I told the team that Maddie (Riley) can’t win all our games for us, and I know it’s a lot of pressure on her, but I told her she couldn’t hit as many balls into the net as she did. Once again, that’s a lot of pressure for her, and we need to start playing better as a team.”