For The Tribune
Thursday night’s Crothersville-Austin volleyball match will have pleasant memories for senior manager Derrick Maxie, but not so much for the Tiger volleyball team.
The Tigers played rival Austin and couldn’t come up with any long rallies and lost their senior night match 25-16, 25-12, 25-12.
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There aren’t any seniors on the Tigers’ playing roster.
Prior to the varsity match, Maxie was introduced before being serenaded by members of the Tigers varsity.
Maxie then sang the national anthem.
“Austin’s a strong team,” Tigers coach Linda Luedeman said. “We faced them earlier in the year, and the girls knew what they were getting into tonight. They probably played their best game that first game.”
The Tigers got off to a strong start in the first set by taking a 4-0 lead.
The Eagles rallied to take a 10-6 lead and stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Crothersville, sparked by a kill by Nikki Hickman, an ace from Brittney Clem and another kill by Abby Mains, cut Austin’s lead to 11-9 before the Eagles pulled away.
The Tigers scored three straight points to narrow the visitors advantage to 23-15 but that was as close as they could get.
“We might get one points here or two points there, but we just couldn’t get that string going,” Luedeman said.
In the second set, Austin jumped on top 12-4, and the Tigers were unable to score back-to-back points the entire set.
A kill by Maddie Riley left the Tigers trailing 5-4 in the third set before Austin went on a 16-4 run to take a 21-8 lead.
Clem served three straight points to cut the Tigers’ deficit to 21-12 before the Eagles closed on a 4-0 run to end the match.
“In the second game and the third game it seemed like we sort of wore down mentally,” Luedeman said. “It’s like the wind had been taken out of our sail.
“This one goes behind us, and we move on and face South Decatur on Monday. Hopefully, we’ll get a win on the road, and then we’ll get ready for sectional.”
Riley was made all 11 of her attacks with three kills, Clem was perfect from the back line making nine serves and Hickman was finished six-for-six in attacks and three-for-three in serving.
The Tigers (11-14) will close their regular season Monday at South Decatur.
The Tigers will play Borden at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Class A Orleans Sectional.