For The Tribune

JEFFERSONVILLE

Coach Holly Birdsong said she felt like her Seymour volleyball team put up a good effort against a strong Floyd Central team Saturday night in the championship match of the Jeffersonville Class 4A Sectional.

The Highlanders were taller, and a little stronger at the net and claimed a 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21 win in the finals.

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Seymour (20-14) advanced with a 25-22, 25-11, 25-17 win over Jennings County in the semis.

“They just had more chances to get attacks on the ball and it was hard for us to come back,” Birdsong said. “They had some big hitters that were hard for us to stop. Our defense did what it could, but we just didn’t have the ability to stop them at the net.

“Their middles are just good hitters. We blocked what we could. They were hitting around our blockers. They know what shots to make. We did what we could, it just wasn’t enough.”

Molly Ottersbach, a strong 6-1 junior, topped the Highlanders in attacks with 15 kills.

In the opening set, the Highlanders opened up a 7-3 lead on back-to-back kills by Ottersbach before the Owls rallied back and tied the game at 9-9 on an ace by Cecily Coffman. SHS then took the lead on a FC attacking error.

The Highlanders moved on top at 16-12, but again the Owls rallied and tied the score at 16 all with an ace by Makanna Fee. The Owls tied the score at 24 before the Highlanders scored the final two points.

The second set was tied at 11-11 before the Owls went on a 6-1 run to lead 17-12 and remained in the lead for the rest of the set. Jessica Blevins had a kill for set point.

The third set was tied at 4-4, 8-8 and 18-18 before the Highlanders scored three straight points with a pair of aces by Ottersbach giving her team a 21-18 lead.

A kill by Fee cut the Highlanders’ lead to 24-22 but that was as close as the Owls could get.

Seymour held a 16-14 lead in the fourth set before the Highlanders reeled off seven straight points to take the lead for good. A kill by Claire Myers left the Owls trailing 24-21 before the Highlanders scored match point.

“I don’t know if anything was better or worse in the four games, we played as hard as we could,” Birdsong said. “Some of the things didn’t fall our way in some of the games. There was a few missed serves (12). However, it was more aggressive than it’s been all season so if you look back we had a lot of points off our aces (8), and had them out of their system when they weren’t able to use their big hitters. A few missed serves we can deal with. It wasn’t like we had a lot of big runs of them.”

Addie Rudge topped the Owls in kills with 13 and Blevins had 10.

Coffman and added to her school record for digs in a season with 40 in the title match.

Seymour held a 9-8 lead in the first set against Jennings County before going on a 4-0 run with a kill by Blevins setting the score 13-8.

Lauren Fleetwood had two kills during a 3-0 run late in the match that put the Owls on top 19-14, and Blevins had a kill for set point.

Seymour held a 9-6 lead in the second set before outscoring the Panthers 5-0 with an ace by Hannah Sipe making the score 14-6 and the Owls pulled away.

Jennings held an 8-3 lead in the third set before the Owls picked up their intensity at the net with Rudge and Fleetwood leading the attacking and Seymour increased its lead.

Set point came on a block by Sipe.

Fleetwood had 11 kills, Blevins 10, and Rudge and Myers nine each.

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