Braves bury Owls in county showdown



It was a Jackson Bowl like atmosphere on Tuesday night as the Class 3A seventh-ranked Brownstown Central Braves welcomed in Jackson County rival Seymour.

Keeping up their high level of play, the Braves swept the Owls 25-11, 25-17, 25-18. It’s the first of three big days of volleyball for the Braves, who will battle multiple Class 4A powers before the week is done.

As the postseason quickly approaches, Brownstown Central coach Jennifer Shade said she hopes her girls use these last two weeks of the regular season wisely. 

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"I want them to go in and beat some good teams and gain some confidence," Shade said. "We’ve got to be playing our best volleyball real soon so playing better competition will hopefully take us one step higher."

The first set couldn’t have gone any better for the Braves as they carved up the Owls and cruised to the finish line.

Yet, after a handful of changes, the Owls came surging back.

Some switches at the net and at libero allowed the Owls to fight back and make the second set much more competitive than the first. They continued their upward trend in the third set, taking the lead in the opening few points and held onto it for much of the set.

Seymour had called multiple timeouts throughout the first two sets of the match with some obvious mistakes needing to get corrected by Seymour coach Angie Lucas. 

However, in the third set, it was Shade who was upset with her girls, calling two timeouts to settle them down and getting them back on track.

She said a third-set lull always seems to plague her girls and it’s been one of their biggest issues all season.

Shade was most frustrated, however, with serves into the net.

"We weren’t making those mistakes at the beginning of the year," Shade said. "That’s the case with all of our errors, we weren’t making those at the beginning of the year and it’s just a matter of re-focusing the girls."

Down by as many as four points in the final stretch, the Braves were led to victory by Kayla Guthrie, who slammed down the final kill with plenty of authority. She had seven kills in the match and had a team-leading three aces.

Rounding out the hitting leaders for Brownstown Central were Keeli Darlage with 14 kills and Kendra McCory with 11. Reagan and Riley Nuss were solid with their serves, totaling two and one, respectively.

For Seymour, they were led by Maggie Connell’s four kills. Chloe Criswell and Camryn Reichenbacker added three each while Criswell had a team-best two aces.

Jayla Gambrel and Lauren Kenieriem also had an ace each. 

In junior varsity action, the Owls fought back after losing the first set to win 2-1 over the Braves. They dropped the first set 18-25, but picked up the next two, 25-20, 16-14. 

Kierstyn Ellis led the way for the Owls with six kills while Brooke Pranger had 10 kills for the Braves. 

Brownstown Central stays home for their next match against Class 4A No. 3 Providence on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The two battled once already at the Providence Invite with the Pioneers winning 2-1. 

Seymour is off until next Tuesday, October 8, for a Hoosier Crossroads Conference tilt with Bedford North Lawrence at 7:30 p.m. The Stars have just two wins on their resume this season. 

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