Brownstown sweeps No. 9 Mitchell in first sectional match

BROWNSTOWN — The Brownstown Central volleyball team didn’t bring its A game to its opening match in the Class 2A Sectional Thursday night, but the Braves made enough good plays to eliminate Mitchell 25-12, 27-25, 25-20.

The Braves, behind a strong serving performance by Kinzee Dean, opened a 4-0 lead in the first set and led all the way.

Veteran Braves coach Jennifer Shade said serving aggressively was key for her team.

“At the beginning that set the tone for the match because they weren’t ready for our aggressive serving,” she said. “We were hitting zones and making it really difficult for them to get the ball to their best hitter.”

Dean had three aces in serving her team into the early lead and was 17-19-5 serving for the match.

“Getting the lead gives you a little bit of breathing room, it gives you a little bit of confidence and just gives you that edge,” Shade said. “I think if you start a game out strong it just gets the momentum on your side.”

After the Bluejackets (24-4) scored two points, the Braves went on a 7-0 run to lead 11-2 and the Braves continued to increase their lead.

Dean said, “I just wanted to come out and show these teams what Brownstown is made of, and really show who really owns this gym.”

Dean was the vocal leader on the court Thursday night. She said, “When we get big kills I try to hype everyone up, get everyone going, get us on the swing, and get everyone on a run. When we get down we just try to get it back together, and build back up so we can get the side out.”

The second set was a battle to the final point as Mitchell held leads of 6-4, 13-8 and 18-14 before the Braves picked their game up a notch.

Back-to-back kills by Sophie Wischmeier and Dean, and a Mitchell passing error closed the difference to 18-17. The set was tied at 19, 20, 24 and 25 before the Braves finished strong and scored set point on an attacking error by Mitchell.

Brownstown jumped on top 11-4 in the third set and led 16-9 before Mitchell rallied to cut the difference to 18-17. Dean came up with a kill to get the momentum back for her team, and Wischmeier had two kills down the stretch that sealed the win for the Braves.

Sophie Wischmeier led the Braves in attacks with 30-34 with 9 kills, Dean was 13-14-7 and Kera Wischmeier was 14-15-7 with the team 94-110-36.

Shade said she felt like her team was a little stronger at the net. “We were a little bit more aggressive than they were. Just keeping them off balance was the main thing that we knew we had to do and I felt like we did a good job doing that.”

Brownstown was 63-72-11 in serves with Dean 17-19-5, Kaitlyn Williams 13-15-2 and Finley Wheeler 10-10.

Dean, a sophomore, played outside hitter in the sectional a year ago and this fall she has been a middle hitter.

“I played middle my whole career except for last year,” she said. “We had some girls quit and we had some spots to fill.”

Dean said, “I think we were a little bit nervous because we have a bunch of girls who haven’t played in a sectional match before, so we were all a little bit scared and a little bit not on top of our game, but I think we got all the nerves out now and we’re ready to push ahead this post-season. We just need to get everyone back together, get connected and get our passes, our setting, and our hitting, get everything up for Saturday.”

Shade said, “At this point it doesn’t matter how you play, or who makes the points. It could be a totally different ballgame than it’s been the whole year as long as you keep winning.

“In the tournament each match we want to get better. I’m sure there were jitters tonight. A few people had never played a sectional and you’re on your home court and there was a big crowd it is a little bit nerve wracking, so to get that first one under our belt is a big deal.”

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Austin will play Henryville. The second match will pit the Braves (15-15) against Eastern (Pekin), and the winners advance to the 6 p.m. championship match.