Three Jackson County schools compete in Bloomington South Invitational



Seymour, Brownstown Central and Trinity Lutheran all traveled to Bloomington High School South on Saturday for their first weekend tournaments of 2018.

Going into the tournament, six out of the eight participating teams in the tourney were ranked in their respective classes.

Brownstown dominated the day, going 4-0 and winning the invitational, while Seymour and Trinity Lutheran both finished 1-3.

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Braves stay perfect

Brownstown Central coach Jennifer Shade said her team answered some big questions in Bloomington.

While the Braves had started the season strong over the first two weeks, the coaching staff needed to see how the girls stacked up against tougher competition in a tournament setting.

The Class 3A No. 6 Braves passed the test with flying colors.

After beating 3A No. 21 Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter (25-11, 25-10), 2A No. 3 Covenant Christian (25-15, 25-7) and Seymour (25-13, 25-14) in pool play, the Braves faced the host school for the championship title.

Against 4A No. 26 Bloomington South, the Braves left no room for doubt in a 25-16, 25-15 win.

Keeli Darlage had eight kills, Kendra McCory added seven and Addie Wilkerson totaled six for BCHS. The Braves went 57-for-62 with 26 total kills.

Serving, the Braves had nine aces while making 44 of 47 attempts. Madisen Polly had five aces and Brooklyn Snodgrass pushed across three.

“We saw that they have it in them (in Bloomington),” Shade said. “We’ve just wondered. We’ve practiced a lot and worked a lot in the gym this summer, just trying to speed everything up. We just didn’t know until we went up against a big front line and aggressive team. We stepped up. I’m very proud of them.”

Shade said winning the invite at South was a big step towards the next phase of the season.

“This was a big tournament,” Shade said. “We are still trying to gauge where we are and what we need to work on. I feel like, today, we built a lot of confidence. I think we played some good volleyball. The last (set)… it is going to be hard to beat the performance. Our passing was spot on and everyone was aggressive at the net. It was just fun.”

Brownstown has a big week ahead, as they host Bloomington South on Tuesday, go to New Albany on Thursday, and hit the road for the Providence Invitational on Saturday.

Owls disappointed with results

While Seymour coach Angie Lucas felt the team improved through pool play, she wasn’t happy with the crossover match effort.

The Owls had a win against Covenant Christian (25-17, 25-21) and lost to Brownstown and Ritter (30-28, 22-25, 15-1) before facing 3A No. 5 Silver Creek.

The Dragons made quick work of the Owls in the third-place match, winning 25-16, 25-15.

“I felt like, during pool play, we got better,” Lucas said. “When we crossed over, we played poorly. It was very disappointing. We wanted to finish on a high note. We didn’t perform and weren’t focused. Our goal is to get better every time we step out on the floor.”

Jessica Blevins led the Owls’ hitting with 23 total kills on the day. Sophia Stahl led the Owls with 38 assists, and Chloe Criswell had 41 digs.

Lucas said she needs to see more leadership from the upperclassmen.

“We need our seniors to step up and show a little bit of leadership. We need more focus and more communication,” Lucas said. “These are all non-volleyball skills. They are things they can control.”

The Owls (4-4) will go to Floyd Central on Tuesday and host Jennings County on Thursday for a pair of Hoosier Hills Conference matches.

Cougars learning to finish tough matches

Had a few points gone differently, Class A No. 7 Trinity Lutheran could have easily gone 3-1 instead of 1-3.

While the Cougars didn’t win a match in pool play, they came close against a pair of opponents.

South opened with a 25-19, 25-17 over Trinity before the Cougars played back-to-back three-setters.

In those pool matches, the Cougars fell 15-25, 25-18, 15-9 to Silver Creek and 25-15, 16-25, 15-12 to East Central. In the East Central match, the Cougars led 10-5 in the third before the Trojans surged.

Playing for seventh in the crossover, the Cougars posted a 25-20, 25-23 win over Ritter.

Despite the losses, Trinity coach Faith Wilder-Newland thought the team improved.

“I would rather play this kind of competition and lose then just play and beat teams easily,” Wilder-Newland said. “These teams challenged us. They are all big schools with smart players that are athletic and are well-coached. I feel like that is how we’re going to get better. I was pleased with today even though we went 1-3. I think we made strides in knowing what we need to do.”

Kamzi Gross led the Cougars with 32 total digs, Hannah Sabotin had 30 kills and five blocks and Bailey Reynolds totaled 75 assists and seven aces for Trinity.

The Cougars (4-5) have a busy week ahead.

They will host South Decatur today and South Ripley on Tuesday before Class 2A No. 2 Christian Academy of Indiana comes to town on Thursday. Trinity will then go to the Barr-Reeve Invitational on Saturday.

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