Braves onto Muncie for state title game; Defeated Ind. Scecina in thrilling finish

COLUMBUS — The Brownstown Central and Indianapolis Scecina cheer blocks had a lot to cheer about as their volleyball teams battled through five sets in the semistate matchup Saturday afternoon at the Orange Pit at Columbus East High School.

However, it was the Braves’ followers who had the loudest cheer following the exciting 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-27, 16-14 win.

This was the ninth semistate title for Braves coach Jennifer Shade and advanced them to the Class 2A state finals at Worthen Arena at Ball State University in Muncie on Saturday afternoon.

After Southwood (31-4) and Tecumseh (32-4) meet at 11 a.m. for the Class A state championship, Brownstown (24-13) will play Muncie Burris (30-4) at approximately 1:30 p.m. for the 2A state title.

After holding her grandchildren and receiving congratulations from some members of that cheer block, Shade said two outstanding teams battled to the end.

“We probably didn’t play our best volleyball today, but I think that’s what that team does,” she said. “They keep the ball in play and make you make mistakes. Kudos to them because they kept the ball in play.”

Shade spoke about the resilience of the girls in the semistate matchup.

“I’m just proud of the girls because they could have folded and let that slip from us. We just kept fighting all the way to the end,” she said. “There were two good teams in the semistate. When you get this far in the tournament, you know you’re going to play good teams. It doesn’t matter at this point how you win. You’ve just got to be the one on top when it’s over.”

The fifth set was tied four times, the last time at 14. Sophie Wischmeier then came up with back-to-back kills to put her team on top 15-14, and match point came on a passing error by the Crusaders, who went home with a record of 25-12.

The fourth set was a game of runs. A kill by Wischmeier put her team on top 6-3 before Scecina rallied to lead 11-8. Scecina moved on top 16-15 before the Braves’ attacking game went at it hard with Sophie Wischmeier, Brailey Tiepen and Kera Wischmeier combining for four straight kills, and they added another point for a 20-16 lead.

Kills by Addison Darlage and Kinzee Dean and an attacking error by the Crusaders put the Braves on top 25-24 before Scecina rallied for three straight points and the win.

Shade said she liked the way her team responded at the beginning of the fifth set by scoring the first point of the set and holding a 3-1 lead on a kill by Dean.

The Crusaders held the lead in the early stages of the first set before the Braves pulled even at 11-all, and Brownstown held its biggest lead of the first set at 24-19. Sophie Wischmeier had a kill for set point.

Scecina held a 10-9 lead in the second set before going on a 9-3 run to lead 19-12 and stayed ahead the rest of the way. That seven-point difference was Scecina’s biggest lead of the day.

The third set was tied at 10 before the Braves went on a 4-0 run to lead the rest of the set. Finley Wheeler served a pair of aces on the 13th and 14th points. The Braves’ seven-point lead late in this set was their biggest of the day.

Sophie Wischmeier was 61-66-18 in kills, Kera Wischmeier was 27-30-11 and Dean was 27-34-9 with the team 178-207-49.

“It didn’t look like we were putting kills away, but it was because their defense was so good,” Shade said. “We just told them to keep pounding. They’re eventually going to make a mistake. They didn’t have any powerhouses, but they tried to control tips and the short game, and we struggled with that at times.”

The coach spoke about the adjustments to the Crusader offense throughout the game.

“Once we got through the first game and figured out what they were trying to do, we covered the tips a whole lot better,” she said.

Shade also said her team did an excellent job of blocking. The Braves had 13 blocks with Kera Wischmeier having five, Tiepen added four and Dean had two.

“I felt like we served aggressively because they have such good ball control, so serving was a key to scoring points,” Shade said.

Wheeler was 15-15-4, Alex Davidson was 21-21-2 and Sophie Wischmeier was 11-11-1 serving with the team 94-101-9.

The Braves had 91 digs with Yeadon getting 32, Sophie Wischmeier 25 and Davidson 14.

Columbus East Semistate

Individual statistics

Serving: Finley Wheeler 15-15-4, Alex Davidson 21-21-2, Sophie Wischmeier 11-11-1, team 94-101-9

Attacking: Sophie Wischmeier 61-66-18, Kera Wischmeier 27-30-11, Kinzee Dean 27-34-9 team 178-207-49

Digs: Jaydynn Yeadon 32, Sophie Wischmeier 25, Alex Davidson 14

Blocks: Kera Wischmeier 5, Brailey Tiepen 2