Volleyball tournament starts today for area teams


The temperatures may be dipping outside; but inside gyms across Indiana, volleyball teams are just warming up.

Postseason play starts for Jackson County volleyball teams this week with the Crothersville Tigers and Class A top-ranked Trinity Lutheran Cougars opening things up today. 

The No. 1 Cougars are the favorite to win their sixth straight sectional crown and ninth overall. Outside of 2013, the Cougars have won a volleyball sectional title every year since 2010. 

Orleans took down the Cougars in 2013 in a five-set thriller.

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But the Cougars are looking for more than just a sectional title this season. 

After coming painstakingly close to the state championship game, the Cougars are in state-or-bust mode, but first they’ll need to get past Jackson County rival Crothersville in the opening round.

Trinity defeated the Tigers in a late-season matchup in straight sets and allowed just 12 total points in the process.

Led by senior Hannah Sabotin, the Cougars boast one of the most potent attacking front lines in the state. Sabotin ranks 12th overall in the state in hitting percentage (.428). Kennedy Hoffman (.342) is 54th and Sydney Jaynes (.324) is 74th. 

Overall, the Cougars rank 11th in the state in hitting percentage (.303) according to MaxPreps.

While Sabotin tends to the lead the Cougars in the kills department each game, it Was Hoffman who had a team-best 15 kills in the match. Sabotin and Jaynes had double-digit kills with 11 and 10, respectively. 

One opponent the Cougars will hope to have eliminated for good is injuries.

Both Sabotin and starting setter Bailey Reynolds have missed time due to injury. Still, the Cougar train hummed right along. 

As long as Trinity can stay healthy, there should be few roadblocks on their way to Muncie. 

Of note, the Cougars have only been taken past five sets once this season. That was against Class A No. 4 Loogootee a few weeks ago. 

On Thursday, both Seymour and Class 3A third-ranked Brownstown Central get their postseason journeys started. 

Seymour travels to Floyd Central where they’ll battle Jeffersonville for the second time this season and hope for a similar three-sets win over the Red Devils.

The Braves will travel to a new venue in Owen Valley High School and will take on a new foe in the West Vigo Vikings. 

Seymour will try to get a repeat result without freshman phenom Olivia Fish, who hasn’t played since September 19 against Southport. 

Look for the trio of senior Chloe Criswell, junior Maggie Connell and freshman Cali Cummings to be the three-headed attacking monster that tries to take down Jeffersonville.

The Braves have demonstrated they can beat all Class 3A teams that come their way, and some 4A teams as well. 

BC also hasn’t had to battle in any five-set matches this season. Just twice they’ve gone to four sets and those matches were against Silver Creek and their first tilt with Floyd Central. 

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