Cougars advance, Tigers fall in sectional play


The Trinity Lutheran and Crothersville volleyball teams both opened up sectional play on Thursday night inside Bollinger Athletic Complex.

The No. 4-ranked Cougars took the floor first against New Washington, and they cruised to a 25-8, 25-9, 25-16 victory. Head coach Faith Wilder-Newland said it was her team’s intensity that helped lead to victory.

“A lot more enthusiasm and focus I think,” she said.

Trinity got off to a great start, taking an 8-3 lead in the first set that extended to 16-5 before New Washington head coach Cara Bullington called timeout.

A Madison Keith kill ended the first set 25-8.

The second set looked identical to the first. Trinity got off to a 8-3 lead, which ballooned to 16-5 before Drew Hubbard ended it with a kill. Jordan Brewer had two-straight aces in the set that both clipped a part of the net and dropped down on the Mustangs’ end.

Trinity’s service game really started to pick up throughout Thursday’s match.

“That’s what we work on is serving flat,” Wilder-Newland said. “I was really glad that they did that.”

The Mustangs showed some fight in the third set, getting to double digit points for the first time in the match, but Trinity was able to keep them at arms length most of the set. After an Addison Darlage serve, an attacking error from New Washington gave Trinity the 25-16 win.

Bailey Tabeling led the Cougars with 15 kills, Carson Bowling had six kills, and Hubbard, Keith and Ava Blomenburg each had four kills. Tabeling had four aces, Darlage had three aces and Laura Roeder and Brewer each had two aces.

Roeder had 15 digs while Tabeling and Keith each had four, and Darlage had 32 assists.

For Crothersville, the Tigers’ season came to an end after a 25-15, 25-16, 25-17 loss to Rising Sun.

Every set seemed to be the same story for the Tigers — they would start well, have a lull and then rally back toward the end but didn’t have enough to come all the way back. Head coach Scott Sage attributed that to the team’s serve-receive.

“We had a good start I thought, we had a lull there in the middle, and a lot of it was serve-receive,” Sage said. “Once we got out that rotation, and that serve-receive funk so to speak, I thought we played pretty good. There were times where I thought we played some of our best volleyball all year.”

The Tigers served 43-48 with seven aces and hit 70-81 with eight kills. Pearl Shirley hit 28-29 with six kills and Hayden Pilgrim hit 17-18 with one kill. Elayna Ord served 13-14 with four aces and Carlee Walker had 7-10 with two aces. Walker also had 20 digs.

The eight wins for Crothersville this year were the most since the 2015-16 season. Sage said he would have liked to get to double digit victories, but he was pleased with the progress his team made.

“We’ve gotten better from the very first practice of the season to now,” Sage said. “I’m hoping to build on that.”

Crothersville should be able to build on it as the Tigers had a young team and started three freshmen this season.

The Tigers’ two seniors were Shirley and Walker.

“Really appreciate what they’ve done,” Sage said on his seniors. “Both of them are really solid players. Both Carlee and Pearl have had pretty good senior season I believe.”

Trinity is now 21-10 this season and will play Medora (2-17) in the semifinals on Saturday at 11 a.m. If the Cougars win, they will be playing for their ninth straight sectional title against the winner of Rising Sun (16-12) and Shawe Memorial (22-8) at 6 p.m.

“I think the vibes are pretty good,” Wilder-Newland said. “Obviously we lost three seniors last year and they all really contributed to the leadership, but BT is doing a really good job, and we’re getting a lot from the juniors and sophomores. We’re blossoming at the right time, and hopefully it’s all coming together.”

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