Trinity looks to control regional match against Tecumseh Saturday


Coach Faith Wilder-Newland says controlling the ball will be a key for her Trinity Lutheran volleyball team when it faces Tecumseh in the opening match of the Loogootee Regional at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Cougars (23-10) will be making their ninth straight appearance in the regional and brought home championship trophies in 2019 and last year.

Springs Valley (29-4) and Lanesville (26-4) will play the second match Saturday with the championship match set for 6 p.m.

“It’s quite an accomplishment for this young team to have that opportunity. We only have one senior, so we’re getting a lot of help from the underclassmen,” Wilder-Newland said. “I would rather play the first match and get it over with.”

Tecumseh (28-4) won the Pocket Conference with a record of 12-0. The Cougars defeated the Braves 25-16, 19-25, 15-12 in a tournament at Barr-Reeve on Sept. 3. Both teams are young with Bailey Tabeling being the only senior on the Trinity roster, while Jaylin Boger and Bri Marx are the only seniors on the Tecumseh roster.

“I think our ball control will be important. We’ve got to really serve tough, and they serve pretty tough themselves, so we’ve got to serve tough and pass receive efficient to take advantage,” Wilder-Newland said. “BT (Tabeling) is capable of really reading their defense and putting the ball where they’re not hopefully, but all of that depends on our ball control. We also have a lot of other people contributing to our offense, so it’s kind of varied, I think.”

Addison Darlage leads Trinity in serve aces with 60, Tabeling has 44 and Laura Roeder 40. Payne Johnson tops the Braves with 116 aces, Katelyn Marx has 61 and Jenna Donahoo 57.

Tecumseh will be one of the taller teams Trinity faces all season as Bri Marx is 5-11, and Donohoo, Boger and Ava Kissel are all 5-10. Tabeling is listed at 5-11, Carson Bowling is 5-10 and Madison Keith is 5-8.

Tabeling tops Trinity in attack kills with 505, Carson Bowling has 368 and Drew Hubbard 111. Roeder tops Trinity in digs with 588, and Katelyn Marx has 315 for the Braves.

Darlage tops Trinity in assists with 1,009, and she has topped 2,000 for her career. Johnson leads Tecumseh with 608 assists, and Emily Hall has 465.

Hubbard, one of the junior starters for the Cougars, said she played in the regional last year.

She has played all-around this fall and ranks third on the team in kills with 111.

“It’s going to be a challenge, and we have to put in our best effort and try to get rid of the silly mistakes that we’ve been making,” she said. “We’ve just got to play smart and not just swing away at the ball all the time. We actually need to think about what kind of shots we need to use and think about how their defense is set up.”

The Cougars have faced several 3A and 4A teams this fall, and Hubbard said she feels like that has helped prepare the Cougars for the tournament.

“It definitely has helped us because we’re a lot more prepared than we would be because Tecumseh’s schedule isn’t quite as hard as ours,” she said. “So playing the difficult teams helps us prepare for the regional and stuff like that.”

Hubbard hopes the Cougars can get off to a fast start by winning the first set.

“It’s very important. It sets the tone, it gets our momentum going, it gives us the confidence that we can keep fighting and that we can get through this,” she said. “Knowing that we can beat them the first set is 100% and helps our confidence to know that we have the ability to win the match. We just want to play our best and have fun.”

Wilder-Newland said, “We’re going to try to take them out of what they normally want to do and play good defense ourselves because they do have a wide variety in their offense, as well, so we just have to be ready for all their weapons and be in the right place to make the play and just go for it. We’re not going to look past Tecumseh because that is the most important thing we can possibly do.”

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