Though they had their ups and downs, the Seymour Owls defended their home court successfully for the first time this season.
Sweeping Hoosier Hills Conference rival Madison (25-11, 25-18, 25-18), the Owls looked to be in control for much of the match and weathered the Madison maelstrom as needed.
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“We want to start strong no matter who’s on the other side of the net,” Seymour coach Angie Lucas said. “Madison did not lay down and die and most good varsity sides will do that, especially in our conference. I felt good coming away with a win in three.”
Set 2 saw the first bits of disarray for Seymour with the Cubs rallying within three points before a timeout allowed the Owls to reset. After a strong start to Set 3, the Cubs battled to take their first lead of the match at 8-7 and were determined to turn the match into at least a four setter.
The Cubs served well midway through the third set and won consecutive points against the Owls. Madison served the ball four times into the same spot until the Owls adjusted behind senior Chloe Criswell, who played a big role in stopping the Madison run.
She followed that up with a pivotal block that turned the tide of the game back into Seymour’s favor.
“It was a huge block,” Lucas said.
As if that wasn’t enough, Criswell served five straight points and came away with three of her four aces in the match during the streak. She led the Owls in the serving department, going 17-for-20 on serves in addition to her aces. She also had four kills and eight digs.
“Chloe is, by far, the heart and soul of our team,” Lucas said. “She’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached and, normally, when kids work that hard, good things happen for them.”
Maggie Connell and Chloe Mellencamp each had three aces for Seymour.
In the hitting department, freshman phenom Olivia Fish drilled 18 kills on the Madison defense. Even when the Cubs set up two players to deal with the hard hitter, they still didn’t have any answers.
However, Fish showed more than just her hitting ability.
Even though she didn’t light up the stat sheets with digs or aces, she was all over the court making sure she did her part no matter where she was at on the court.
Lucas remarked at Fish’s talent but said she’s an even better teammate.
“Olivia is a very special player,” Lucas said. “We haven’t seen someone with that kind of talent here in this gym in awhile.”
This week will be a tough test for the Owls. They’ll travel to league rival Columbus East on Tuesday and then to Bloomington North on Thursday. Finally, they’ll wrap up the week at the Brownstown Central Invite this Saturday that features several top teams in the state including the Braves and Trinity Lutheran.
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SHS hiting: Olivia Fish 26-31-18, Maggie Connell 14-19-7, Chloe Criswell 10-14-4, team 60-82-36.
SHS serving: Criswell 17-20-4, Connell 8-10-3, Chloe Mellencamp 7-8-3, team 61-71-13.