Jackson County volleyball teams prep for postseason


All five of Jackson County’s high school volleyball programs will commence postseason tournament play this week.

Owls preparing for sectional

Seymour coach Angie Lucas used one word to describe her team during practices this week: Focused.

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The Owls (18-13) are preparing to face New Albany (15-18) on Thursday in Class 4A Sectional 15 play, a team that they defeated in five sets Sept. 20.

“We are focused on (New Albany),” Lucas said. “We know they have an outstanding outside hitter and good libero. We know what we’re going to be faced with. I think we’re mentally prepared for them. I think we are in a good place.

“My philosophy has always been taking it one match at a time. Sure, we’ve scouted the other teams and we are prepared for them, but right now, we are just focused on New Albany.”

Should they advance, the Owls are looking at either Bedford North Lawrence (4-24) or Floyd Central (15-17) in Saturday’s semifinals. Seymour swept BNL in the regular season but was blanked by the Highlanders. Floyd Central won the Hoosier Hills Conference by going undefeated in conference play.

The winner of that match will more than likely face Class 4A No. 2 Providence (29-2). The Pioneers’ losses this season are to Mercy (Louisville) and Brebeuf Jesuit.

Providence, a Class 2A-sized school, has dominated volleyball across multiple classes over the past five years.

After finishing runner-up in Class 2A in 2013, the Pioneers won the state championship in ‘13 and ‘14. In their first year of playing in Class 3A, the Pioneers added another state title. They finished runners-up in ‘16 and moved up to 4A last fall.

In 2017, the Pioneers won sectional and regional championships before falling in the semistate.

The Owls won’t have to travel this time around.

“We are really glad to be hosting this. Having it on our home court is a huge advantage,” Lucas said. “It was also a relief that we didn’t start by playing Providence. It’s a relief that we won’t see them until the championship.”

The Owls lost to the Pioneers 25-17, 25-16, 25-11 in last year’s sectional finals.

Seymour owns 23 total sectional championships with the most recent being in 2012.

“We have to block well and cut down on our errors,” Lucas said. “We know that we don’t have the horses that Providence has, but we know that we have a great team. Our team chemistry is very good. We know that we can beat teams if we just play together. We take it as a challenge. I have seen bigger teams go down because of that. We hope our team chemistry carries us through.”

The sectional champion at Seymour will face the Greenwood Community winner in Bloomington North Regional play Oct. 20. The other side of the regional bracket features the winners of the Bloomington South and Evansville Harrison sectionals.

Braves setting high expectations

The 2018 Mid-Southern Conference champion plans to finish its season with more than one title.

Brownstown Central (28-5) wants multiple pieces of hardware in the school’s trophy room by the end of the fall sports season.

On top of playing on their home floor, the Class 3A No. 6 Braves were dealt a favorable draw, as they’re the only team in Sectional 30 to receive a bye.

The Braves will play the winner of North Harrison (13-19) and Salem (14-11) — two teams they swept in the regular season — on Saturday morning in the semifinals.

Other matches this week include Silver Creek (27-6) versus Scottsburg (22-11) and Corydon Central (4-18) against Charlestown (19-11). Silver Creek is the heavy favorite to meet the Braves in the finals.

On Sept. 6, the Braves posted a 23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-15 win over the Dragons. The victory proved the difference in the chase for the MSC, as the Dragons finished with just one conference loss and the Braves went undefeated.

“Aggressiveness is a big key for us,” Braves coach Jennifer Shade said. “If we serve aggressive and hit aggressive, it will keep them out of their offense. They have some powerhouse hitters on their front line. We need to make sure the setter doesn’t get them the ball as easily as she wants to.

“I think the quicker we can be, the less time they have to set up the block, the better the chance we can get the ball down on their side. They’re going to be playing their best volleyball right now, too. It is going to be interesting to see where they are at, too. First game might be a little hard to figure out just what is going on. Hopefully after that, we can gain momentum.”

The Braves and Dragons know each other well.

In last year’s sectional championship at Silver Creek, the Dragons beat the Braves in a 25-22, 21-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11 marathon match.

The Braves are rolling.

This past weekend, they won the Carmel Invitational.

“We’ve tried to strengthen our schedule so that we are playing our best volleyball at the end of the season,” Shade said. “We are thankful for the tournament at the end. It gives us a chance to see if there are things we need to fix and what is working before sectional.”

Whichever team wins the sectional will play in the Corydon Central Regional on Oct. 20. The winner will play the Batesville champion, while the Heritage Hills and Pike Central sectional winners will square off in the other semifinal.

“While there have been some ups and downs, this team does what it takes to win,” Shade said. “They do it what it takes to get by. When we meet tough competition, they step up. It is unbelievable to Paige (Wheeler, assistant coach) and I because we can see so many different levels to this team.

“I think, though, it shows that they can mentally handle it. They know what they have to do, so they will do it. This team is just unique that winning drives them. I think the seniors, this being their last chance to do this, that motivates them. I think we’ve built such a confidence in these kids that anything less (than winning) would be unacceptable.”

Brownstown’s most recent sectional championship came in 2013. The Braves own 19 sectional championships, including 17 straight (between 2A and 3A) from 1997 to 2013.

Cougars aim for fifth straight title, Tigers and Hornets hope to play spoilers

Crothersville coach Kourtney Settle said her team needs to play up to its potential when it faces Trinity Lutheran in the opening match Thursday in the first round of the Class A Sectional 62.

Medora will face West Washington in the semifinals Saturday, and that match will be followed by Shawe Memorial facing the winner of Trinity and Crothersville.

The Tigers hosted the Cougars Sept. 18 with Trinity winning 25-16, 25-6, 25-8.

“I am looking forward to sectional play,” Settle said. “Trinity is a very tough team, and we just need to come out and play to our best potential. We are going to have to play hard every single point of each game. They need to play relentless and give it all their effort every single play.”

Cougars coach Faith Wilder-Newland is looking for strong all-around play from her team.

“We need to serve aggressively, pass serve reception well and play good defense,” she said. “If we take care of those areas, we should be in good shape. Hitting and setting are strengths. Blocking can be a strength when we focus on technique.”

Trinity owns seven sectional titles, including four straight.

The Cougars have the best record in the tournament at 24-9 and are ranked fifth in Class A this week. They did not play any of the other sectional teams besides Crothersville.

“Since we are ranked fifth, I guess we are favored,” Wilder-Newland said. “However, in the tournament, it does not matter what your record was or if you are favored. Anybody can beat anybody on a given night. That is why we have to play our best every play in every match.”

Crothersville is 10-12 overall and 4-2 against sectional opponents with wins over West Washington and Medora and losses to Trinity and Shawe.

“Trinity has some very strong and quick hitters, so we really need to focus on our timing with blocking as well as when we are attacking,” Settle said.

She said the Tigers need to serve well.

“Serves are very important,” she said. “We have several strong servers that can get us runs, but everyone else has to work just as hard to keep the serve going. Serving aggressive is key, as well. Any time we can make the other team move on a pass or make it harder on the other team’s setter, that can be in our favor.”

When Medora faces West Washington on Saturday, it will be second meeting of the season. West Washington topped Medora 22-25, 25-12, 25-14, 25-12 on the Hornets’ floor Aug. 16.

“We started off real good like we usually do, and then our passing kind of started breaking down,” Medora coach Missy Stewart said. “It seems like once that happens, it’s hard to get their heads up and get them to focus on it.

“They just need to one-pass. It doesn’t even need to be a perfect pass. It just has to be one that our setter can get to and put up a hittable ball for them. So if we can do that, then we’ll be fine. We should be able to stay with them and hopefully even beat them.”

Medora is 8-18 overall and 0-4 against sectional teams.

“I’ve told them to keep their heads up,” Stewart said. “They can beat anybody they want to on a given day. They’ve got to believe in themselves, they’ve got to believe in the team and they’ve got to work together as a team.

“I tell them you don’t win or lose volleyball as one person. Everybody contributes. Everybody has got to contribute to win or lose. They have to believe in themselves. They have to keep a positive attitude, and the negativity has got to stay out of their mind. Just play your position and help pick up other positions and relax and have fun, too.”

The winner of the West Washington Sectional will face the winner of the Northeast Dubois Sectional at the Loogootee Regional on Oct. 20. The other side of the regional will feature the Loogootee and Borden sectional champions.

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Class A Sectional 62 (West Washington)


Crothersville vs. Trinity Lutheran, 6 p.m.


West Washington vs. Medora, 11 a.m.

Shawe Memorial vs. Crothersville/Trinity Lutheran winner, 12:30 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.

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Class 3A Sectional 30 (Brownstown Central)


North Harrison vs. Salem, 7 p.m.


Silver Creek vs. Scottsburg, 6 p.m.

Corydon Central vs. Charlestown, 8 p.m.


Brownstown Central vs. North Harrison/Salem winner, 10 a.m.

Corydon Central/Charlestown winner vs. Silver Creek/Scottsburg winner, noon

Championship, 7 p.m.

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Class 4A Sectional 15 (Seymour)


Jeffersonville vs. Jennings County, 7 p.m.


Seymour vs. New Albany, 6 p.m.

Bedford North Lawrence vs. Floyd Central, 8 p.m.


Providence vs. Jeffersonville/Jennings County winner, 11 a.m.

Seymour/New Albany winner vs. BNL/Floyd Central winner, 1 p.m.

Championship, 7 p.m.


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