Over the past few years, a volleyball rivalry has developed between a pair of private high schools that stand 52 miles apart.
While the teams no longer compete in the same class, the yearly competition continued at the Bollinger Athletic Complex on Thursday.
Trinity Lutheran came out on top over Christian Academy of Indiana 25-17, 25-23, 25-12 win last night in a match up of regional small-school powers.
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In the first set, the Cougars (6-5) and Warriors (10-4) traded points until a 5-0 run on serves from Bailey Reynolds put Trinity up 10-6.
The Cougars were able to hold onto the lead the remainder of the opening set, with the Warriors only getting within five points, until a hit from Sydney Jaynes sealed it at 25-17.
After battling through the first part of the second set, tying the score four times, a kill by Hannah Sabotin ignited a 6-1 Trinity run.
Back-to-back aces by Paige Lawrence put the Cougars up 16-12, prompting a CAI timeout. While Trinity took the next two points, the Warriors climbed back to tie it at 19.
The Cougars took a 23-20 lead, in part on two kills by Abby Schult, but the Warriors answered with three straight to deadlock the score.
Out of a timeout, Trinity won the next two points, capped by a hit by Sabotin, to close the set at 25-23.
“I think we had a little bit of a lull in the second set,” Trinity coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. “I didn’t think we were blocking as well. I thought they picked up their game a lot from the first set. I didn’t think they were hitting on all cylinders. They definitely cranked it up a notch in the second set.”
Trinity came out fired up to start the third set.
The Cougars built a 7-2 lead before forcing another Warriors timeout.
The stoppage in time didn’t slow Trinity.
After building the lead as large as 11 points, at 16-7, the Cougars didn’t look back as they closed it at 25-12.
“I felt like, by the end of the second and beginning of the third, we were playing really, really well,” Wilder-Newland said. “I’m very pleased. It’s a big win.”
Sabotin led the Cougars with 13 kills, while Schult had 11 and Savannah Harweger totaled eight.
Reynolds topped Trinity with 35 assists, Lawrence had five aces and Kamzi Gross had 10 digs.
The win is a signature one for Wilder-Newland, who is in her first year of coaching the Cougars.
Christian Academy had knocked the Cougars out of the postseason three straight years before being bumped up to Class 2A due to the IHSAA success factor in 2017. The Warriors finished runner-up in the Class A state tournament in 2016 and 2014 and were champions in 2015.
Last year, CAI finished as the 2A runners-up, losing to Andrean in the state championship.
Two of CAI’s losses this season are to teams from Kentucky (Butler and North Oldham). The other losses are to Class A No. 2 Barr-Reeve and Trinity.
Trinity will compete in the Barr-Reeve Invitational on Saturday.