Four of five Jackson County schools will open volleyball sectional play Thursday.

The matches will take place from Orleans to Charlestown and in between.

Seymour Owls

Sometimes, the best two teams in a sectional meet each other to start the tournament.Seymour (18-11) will face Floyd Central (19-10) in the Class 4A Jennings County semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Since falling to Columbus East in the Hoosier Hills Conference Championship game Oct. 3, the Owls have won six straight games heading into sectional.At the start of the season, the Owls struggled to maintain consistency as several members sat, at various points, with injuries.

Story continues below gallery

Momentum started swinging in the Owls’ direction starting Sept. 29 when the Owls defeated Jackson County rivals Brownstown Central.

On Sept. 1, the Highlanders defeated the Owls 25-23, 27-25, 25-14 in a match where the final scoreline didn’t show the competitiveness of the game.

First-year Owls coach Holly Birdsong said she knew they would play Floyd at some point in the tournament.

With Thursday night off, the Owls have had time on their side to prepare.

“The bye is always nice to have,” she said. “It gives us another day to prepare. Floyd Central was going to come whether we had them the first game or not.”

With near all her players back from injury, Birdsong said the match could swing in the Owls’ favor.

“I think we will be ready for them,” Birdsong said. “We had a nice break here to get ready. As long as we’re healthy, I think we will be OK.”

The Owls have heavily relied on senior setter Chandler Clark and leading-hitter Emilee Pollmann in recent matchups.

Birdsong said that all her girls will need to step up to advance to the 7 p.m. championship game.

Braves face tough opener

Brownstown Central coach Jennifer Shade says her team will definitely have to bring it’s “A game” when it faces Providence in Class 3A Charlestown Sectional 30 on Thursday.“When we go into Thursday, I want the girls to be very well prepared, and full of confidence,” Shade said. “Providence is good, but there are many, many stories about the underdog beating the favorite.”Salem will face Scottsburg at 6 p.m. Thursday, with Brownstown (17-16) playing Providence in the second match.

No. 2 Providence won the Class 2A state championship last year, and under the IHSAA’s success factor, the Pioneers were moved up to Class 3A.

Shade and Pioneers coach Terri Puricha have faced each another several times over the years, including on the Pioneers’ court Oct. 1 when Providence won in three sets.

“For years, we did this to Providence,” Shade said. “They had time to prepare for us. We’re going to do the same to them this year. I know her style and she knows our style. We know everything about each-other.”

Shade said she believes her team is prepared to face the Pioneers because of the schedule they played.

“We do play a strong schedule, and we have to because years ago we learned that just playing the teams and winning, and having an undefeated record when we go into tournament time we weren’t prepared,” Shade said.

Shade said she will count heavily on the Braves’ defense.

“I think our defense is really strong,” she said. “Even though we played them earlier, our serve receive was pretty good. It’s just that we’ve got to put the ball away and have some consistency at the net.

“Providence is going to get some good hits, and some good plays in, but we’ve got to be able to turn around and match that.”

Cougars eye another title

While Trinity Lutheran has a new coach at the helm heading into this year’s postseason, the same goal remains: retain the sectional championship and get to Christian Academy in the regional.The Cougars (18-9) are firing on all cylinders heading into the Orleans Sectional matchup with West Washington.Last week, the No. 12-ranked Cougars defeated powerhouses Henryville, 3-2, and Loogootee 3-0.

Henryville is a top-5 team in Class 2A and Logootee was ranked higher than the Cougars in last week’s Class A polls.

Since Sept. 26, the Cougars have gone 9-1.

First-year coach Chelsea Stroub said her girls are playing their best ball of the year heading into their quarterfinals match with the Senators.

“I’m excited,” Stroub said. (Last week) was really big confidence booster for us. I’m not really treating it any differently than any other part of the season. I don’t want the girls to freak out. We need to stay confident and treat it like another game.”

Going into the tournament, the Cougars will be the favorites to take it all.

The Senators have struggled to hit their stride this season, posting more than 20 losses.

Should the Cougars win the 7:30 p.m match, they will face the winner of Crothersville and Borden on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Cougars defeated Crothersville twice, in straight sets, during the regular season.

While Stroub said her girls need to stay level-headed, she expects to get back to the regional.

“It’s going to be the same (as 2014) if we get to the regional: we’re going to have to get through Christian Academy,” Storub said. “We want that game.”

Young Tigers squad takes the field

Crothersville coach Linda Luedeman eagerly looks forward to Thursday’s match against Borden in the Class A Orleans Sectional.“We played Borden in the very first match of the season,” Luedeman recalled. “It was close, but we did get beat. We faced Borden in the Springs Valley Tournament later, and we beat them, so it should be a good match.”Borden won the Southern Athletic Conference match 25-20, 25-17, 25-23 at Borden on Aug. 18, while the Tigers won 25-16, 25-27, 17-15 in the Springs Valley Tournament on Sept. 5.

“First of all, we have to run an offense,” Luedeman listed as a big key. “We have to hit that ball, attack it and be aggressive. Passes have to be on for that to happen, so we are continuing to work on our passing game.”

Solid blocking would also factor into a Tigers (11-15) win.

“We’ve got to get everybody blocking,” Luedeman said. “If they are good, hard hits we need to get some hands on it and slow the ball down.

“We should be petty equal with Borden (in size). I really look for a good sectional round. I’m excited about that draw. Hopefully we’ll be back there on Saturday morning playing again.”

Luedeman said she always wants to see her team get off to a good start, especially in the sectional, by winning the first set.

“It’s very important. It’s a big morale booster,” she said. “We don’t have a senior on this team, so when we come back next year, and if we can win as many games as we won this year, plus those close ones, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Crothersville’s starting lineup is made up of one freshman, two sophomores and three juniors: with no seniors.

This is Borden’s first year playing in Class 1A Sectional 61, replacing Springs Valley.

Hornets draw bye, face Orleans

With a small, banged-up roster, Medora has rested its squad Monday and Tuesday.With a first-round bye, the Hornets face sectional-host Orleans on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.The Hornets (7-16) fell to Orleans 27-25, 13-25, 25-19, 25-10 on Sept. 24, but Medora coach Sara Todd has confidence her team can get to the championship game.

“We’ve been fairly close with Orleans, I think we can beat them,” Todd said. “We have to come prepared and rested. We’re hoping to have one of our middle hitters back which could be crucial to us.

“I think it’s going to take quality serving and the defense has to be there. We need good movement and communication. Serves are a given, we need to be consistent.”

The Hornets have struggled to find consistency this season, but Todd said that her team has started to peak towards the end of the campaign.

Todd said that seniors Megan Weddell, Jadelyn Dean and Avery Carney will need to lead the team on the floor to have success.

Carney has led the team setting-wise, leading the team with digs, while Wedell has done the bulk of the hitting.

Should the Hornets win, there’s a strong chance they will face Trinity Lutheran in the finals — a team Medora hasn’t seen in 2015.

“I think that we can get to the final game and give whoever is there a run for their money,” Todd said.

Sectional lineup

Class 4A Sectional 15 – Jennings County

Oct. 22

Bedford North Lawrence versus new Albany, 6 p.m.

Jennings County versus Jeffersonville, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 24

Thursday’s winners play each other, 11 a.m.

Floyd Central versus Seymour, 12:30 p.m.

Championship game, 7 p.m.

Class 3A Sectional 30 – Charlestown

Oct. 22

Salem versus Scottsburg, 6 p.m.

Providence versus Brownstown Central, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 24

Corydon Central versus winner Silver Creek/Charlestown, 11 a.m.

Thursday’s winners play each other, 12:30 p.m.

Championship game, 7 p.m.

Class A Sectional 61 – Orleans

Oct. 22

Crothersville versus Borden, 6 p.m.

Trinity Lutheran versus West Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 24

Thursday’s winners play each other, 11 a.m.

Medora versus Orleans, 12:30 p.m.

Championship game, 7 p.m.

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.