SC, LaCrosse advance
CULVER — The ability of the South Central girls volleyball team to capture a straight-set win over Triton in the first round of the Class A Culver Community Sectional on Thursday demonstrated to coach Janet Fitzpatrick that her team is getting better at closing out matches.
But in order to capture a sectional title, Fitzpatrick said her team – which scored the 25-22, 25-20, 26-24 win over Triton and will face conference rival LaCrosse at noon in Saturday’s semifinal -- needs to tighten up some of the basics.
“We are definitely getting better at closing out matches,” she said. “I just feel like there are times where we get in our own way. The number of missed serves and the balls that were missed. We can’t expect that were always going to get an extra swing and it falls our way.
“I’ll definitely take those all day long, but that’s now how you’re going to advance in the tournament because the next teams get better and better. We have to work on our fundamentals, but we had some great moments tonight and some players step up big.”
Stepping up big for South Central were Lexy Wade (8 kills, 8 digs), Maggie Thomas 48 assists, 6 digs), Skylar Wildfong (6 kills, 2 blocks), McKenzie Hudspeth (2 aces), and Hannah Hagy (1 block).
“We also had some kids off the bench step up and do some spectacular things for us,” Fitzpatrick said. “Hannah Hagy was wonderful for us. She did things that the score book won’t tell you. She hasn’t played on varsity much this season, and she rose up and did some great things.”
Fitzpatrick said the key player in the match was Wade on both sides of the ball.
“She did some amazing things in key points of the match on defense,” she said. “Everybody is going to talk about her hits, but her serve receive and defense tonight was outstanding. She’s taking more pride in that, though we know that she’s a big shot maker.
“And she’s the most positive kid in the court, and she’s dedicating herself to that to inspire her teammates. That’s a big thing for her and the team. This is just the nicest group of kids to coach, and we had the community come out and support us big tonight.”
South Central will look to renew its friendly rivalry on Saturday with Porter County Conference foe LaCrosse, which captured a 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 victory over the host Cavaliers.
The Tigers (6-20) were led by Emily Leflew (13 assists), Emily Pontbriand (8 digs, 5 aces), Katelyn Bell (7 kills, 4 aces), Kaylee Welkie (6 kills, 7 digs), Claire Garwood (6 kills, 2 blocks), and Morgan Wozniak (solo block).
“These girls played tonight the way the have been capable of playing all year long,” first-year LaCrosse coach Robert Bramlet said. “These girls have a lot of heart. We played Culver the third match of the year, and you can see how far these girls have come since that early match.
“This season has been a big learning curve for myself and the girls. The girls are getting used to the way I coach, and I’m getting used to what they can do.”