For The Tribune
The hopes of the Seymour volleyball team to bring home a sectional trophy came to an end Saturday in the semifinals of the Class 4A Jennings County Sectional.
Floyd Central, led by 6-foot-3 middle hitter Gwyn Jones, topped the Owls 25-11, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15 in the tournament played in the Charles Hurley Gymnasium.
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“They have a lot of good passers that made it hard for us to get points down from our hitters, and their middle (Jones) killed it about every time she put it over the net,” Owls coach Holly Birdsong said. “We did improve by the end of the match some. We were getting a block up on her, but it still wasn’t enough to turn the match around.”
Floyd led 5-2 early in the first set before the Owls rallied, and used an ace by Mikayla Fee, kill by Macey Chase and block by Chandler Clark to take a 7-5 lead.
The Highlanders rebounded with a 14-2 run to lead 19-9.
Jones, who will continue her volleyball career at Auburn University next fall, put an end to the first set with a solid kill.
The Owls started off the second set strong, and increased an 8-7 lead to an 11-7 advantage on a kill by Lauren Fleetwood, ace by Addie Rudge, and another kill by Clark.
Floyd used a string of six straight points to take a 13-11 lead. The Owls sparked by kills by Emilee Pollmann and Jessica Blevins, moved on top 18-17, but Floyd finished strong with an 8-0 run to take a 2-0 lead in the best of five match.
The Owls weren’t about to get swept by the Highlanders, and started out strong in the third set by holding leads of 8-4, 12-8 and 17-12.
Three kills by Chase late in the match kept the Owls in the lead before Floyd rallied to tie the score at 22-22.
The Owls used a block by Mollie Borcherding, a passing error by Floyd, and an ace by Fleetwood to score the final three points and force a fourth set.
“I think we were just able to push the ball up closer, and tighter to the net with our passes, so we were able to utilize more hitters,” Birdsong listed as the keys to winning the third set.
“They weren’t waiting on us as much, and we were scoring more in that game. Macey was able to score a lot going down the line over their block, mixing that up a lot for us so that was great.”
Floyd jumped to leads of 7-2, 11-4 and 15-6 in the fourth set, and although the Owls tried different strategies, they were unable to catch up.
“We tried to make a few changes,” Birdsong said. “We couldn’t find anything that was able to stop them, so it was a rough end to the game.”
Blevins was 24 of 29 with five kills in attacks while Fee was 13 of 14 with an ance in serving, and she had three solo blocks and two assists.
Birdsong, in her first season as head coach of the Owls, guided the Owls to a record of 18-12.
“Overall, I think we had a good season,” Birdsong said. “As you look back over our lineups, we only had probably five games in a row with the same lineup the whole season. We faced six sprained ankle injuries, and two hamstring injuries within the middle of that.
“Five of those six were senior players we were relying on in the games, so with all the switches going on, the young girls were able to step up. I think that will help us in the future, but it wasn’t enough to pull off this year.”
Pollmann, Clark, Chase, Borcherding and Fee will graduate form the program.
“I wish it could have happened for this group of seniors,” Birdsong said. “They’re great, but it didn’t happen this year.”