Fourth-ranked Cougars crush Tigers to open postseason



Class A No. 4 Trinity Lutheran swept Crothersville 25-11, 25-13, 25-12 on Thursday to open Sectional 62 play at West Washington High School.

In the first set, Trinity (25-9) jumped to a 13-1 lead on eight straight serves by Kamzi Gross. Gross had four aces in the span.

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After a timeout, up 13-2, the Cougars extended their lead to 20-3 before the Tigers could get any momentum. While the Tigers (10-13) were able to cut into the deficit, they couldn’t surmount the lead and fell 25-11.

Like the opening set, the Cougars came out firing in the second.

Trinity built a 13-3 lead in the early goings and never looked back. A pair of kills by Hannah Sabotin closed it at 25-13.

The Cougars didn’t let up in the third, going up 20-10 before a block by Sydney Jaynes ended it at 25-12.

Gross and Elly Carter each had four aces for the Cougars, while Sabotin finished with 20 kills on 25 hitting attempts. Abby Schult had nine kills and two blocks, and Jaynes had seven kills for the Cougars.

Gross led Trinity with eight digs, and Bailey Reynolds totaled 38 assists.

“I thought we really came out composed, handled the ball well and communicated,” Trinity coach Faith Wilder-Newland said. “On offense, I thought we were crisp and had production from a lot of people. I thought it was a very good start.”

Maddie Riley went 26-for-27 with five kills for the Tigers. The Tigers had just 31 hitting attempts in the match and two total aces.

Crothersville coach Kourtney Settle felt the team didn’t perform to its ability.

“I told my girls that the team we needed to show up just didn’t show up,” Settle said. “Tonight, we played very lazy. We had no energy, and I think that was obvious to everyone here. It is tough going into a game knowing you’re playing a really, really good team, but I would rather get beat by a really, really good team than a team we should beat.”

The Cougars, winners of four straight sectional titles, will play Shawe Memorial in semifinals action at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship is set for 7 that night.

“We want them to keep visualizing themselves playing well under pressure situations,” Wilder-Newland said. “We want them to relax and take deep breaths. We want them to have fun and enjoy every moment. I’m really, really proud of these kids. They are a great group. I just want them to go as far as they can.”

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