For The Tribune
Brownstown Central’s volleyball team celebrated senior night Thursday with a 25-7, 25-13, 25-9 Mid-Southern Conference win against Salem.
Prior to the match, senior volleyball players Claire Pace and Grace Jaynes and their parents, along with seniors of other fall sport teams and their parents, were introduced.
Braves coach Jennifer Shade said she enjoyed coaching Pace and Jaynes the past four seasons.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “This whole team is a lot of fun. To have two seniors that have a lot of fun and respect for the other players that has made it an even better season.
“Grace and Claire have been a very big part of our program. They’ve been very good about leading the younger kids. They’re on the court with a lot of young kids, and they do a good job of setting an example, not just on the court but in the classroom, and just the way they treat people overall. They’re good kids.”
The Braves got off to a good start in the first set with an ace by Brooklyn Snodgrass putting Brownstown ahead 3-1 and the home team was ahead to stay.
The Braves were leading 7-5 before Pace served six straight points. After the Lions scored a point, the Braves finished the set on an 11-1 run. Heidi Booher and Snodgrass both had aces, and Jaynes and Keeli Darlage had two kills each down the stretch.
“Our goal, any time we play, is we want to start out on top and finish on top, so we have really focused a lot in practice on that first play of the game because that seems to set the tone for the match,” Shade said.
“Teams will play with momentum and energy right off the bat, so sometimes, it’s hard to compete with teams for the first 10 points of the game, and then you’ll usually settle in and play a little better.”
Salem held leads of 5-4 and 9-8 in the second set before the Braves took control with three straight kills by Darlage making it an 11-8 score that forced Salem coach Straton Thomas to call timeout to get his team settled down.
That didn’t stop Brownstown’s momentum, as Addie Wilkerson had two kills, and Booher served a pair of aces for a 17-9 lead. Set point came on an attacking error by the Lions.
Salem stayed close to the Braves the first part of the third set, trailing only 8-6 before the Braves went on a 17-3 rally.
Darlage served six straight points, including back-to-back aces, that made the score 22-7, and Kendra McCory had a kill for match point.
Jaynes was 18-for-19 with 11 kills in attacks, while Darlage had seven kills, and Pace had six kills.
Snodgrass had six aces and 10 digs, while Booher had five aces and Darlage four aces.
Brownstown finished 8-1 in the MSC, one game behind champion Silver Creek.
The Braves (18-10) will play in a tournament Saturday at Carmel, where they will face Noblesville and Belmont in pool play beginning at 9 a.m.
“Everybody there is a really good team,” Shade said. “Everybody we play Saturday will be very good competition, which is good leading into the sectional.”