Cougars frustrate Franklin


Trinity Lutheran volleyball followed up an easy win over Waldron earlier in the week with a convincing straight-sets victory over Class 4A Franklin, 25-23, 25-18, 25-15. 

It’s the second team from the state’s top class the Cougars have faced this season. They battled nationally-ranked Providence in their second game of the year, losing to the Pioneers in three sets.

Coach Faith Wilder-Newland said her team needs to battle tough competition from bigger programs to prepare them for the postseason. 

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"Hopefully this just makes us a better team," Wilder-Newland said. "Our goal is just to compete with whomever we’re playing against no matter the class they are."

Long runs put the Cougars out in front early in every set. They started the second on a 7-0 blitz before the Grizzly Cubs called a timeout. Franklin responded with a run of their own, closing the gap to 12-10 before Trinity went on another run.

The game followed the formula of Trinity runs into Franklin runs into another Trinity run in each of the first two sets. 

Franklin’s fight in the first two sets was something positive coach Roxie Chapman could latch onto. 

"We had a good comeback in Game 2, that was nice and it showed we can come back," Chapman said. "I knew coming in they would have a good team. We haven’t seen that caliber yet … and we needed to see somebody good so we know what we need to work on."

The trend was finally bucked in Set 3 when the Cougars sapped the will from Franklin to cruise to their biggest set win of the night. 

Many of the Cougars’ points came off the powerful swing of lone senior Hannah Sabotin. 

Sabotin was 32 of 33 on hitting attempts and had 17 kills on the night, leading the team in the department. Sydney Jaynes also had a strong night form her middle hitter spot, going 15-for-18 with 10 kills. 

Bailey Tabeling and Kennedy Hoffman contributed nine and seven kills, respectively, to the Cougar offense. Setter Bailey Reynolds had 37 assists and five aces. 

This is the first loss suffered by the Grizzly Cubs this season, having won their first two of the year against Mid-State rivals Greenwood and Decatur Central in straight sets. 

Chapman wasn’t at all surprised their toughest competition so far this season would come against Trinity Lutheran, knowing they’ve been putting together a good team for several years.

Franklin gets no easy games next week with Perry Meridian and Center Grove on the slate. 

The Cougars will be back in action on Saturday at the Brownstown Central Invite. They’re in the same pool as the Seymour Owls. Pool play is set to begin at 9 a.m. with the first, third, fifth and seventh place games starting at 4 p.m. 

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