BY HANSON CRAFTON
NEW ALBANY —
The Class A Christian Academy Sectional championship will be a rematch of last year’s sectional final.
The host Warriors will lock horns with New Washington on Saturday. Both teams looked impressive in their wins Thursday. New Washington held on to beat a Rock Creek team that came to play in four sets — 25-12, 19-25, 25-14, 25-19 — and gave the Mustangs all they could handle.
Christian Academy crushed South Central on its way to the title tilt — 25-11, 25-10, 25-11 — controlling the match from start to finish.
Both teams head into Saturday knowing of the challenges each team will face.
“Saturday will be a tough match,” New Washington coach Michelle McCutcheon said. “We’ll come out and play hard sets, we just want to play.”
Christian Academy will be the slight favorite Saturday after beating the Mustangs 25-19, 25-23, 26-24 on Sept. 23, but Warroir coach Walter Pauly doesn’t see it that way.
“It’s going to be a battle,” Pauly said. “New Washington is a very good team. They are going to be very hard to beat.”
One match up to keep an eye on will be the battle at the net. New Washington Senior Caroline Ricks is a hand full for any team, but Christian Academy’s duo of Krista Boesing and Sierra Rayzor hope to be up for the challenge. All three dominated the play at the net during their semifinal games.
“Caroline Ricks is one of the better players in this area,” said Pauly.”Its going to be a tough task.”
NEW WASHINGTON-ROCK CREEK
New Washington went into this game as the favorite to reach the title game Saturday, but someone forgot to tell Rock Creek.
The Lions were no easy out as they played very well, forcing many New Washington errors. After slow starts in the first two sets, Rock Creek was able to steal the third set and had the momentum in the fourth set until the Caroline Ricks Show took off.
With both teams going back and forth and the set at 11-10 in New Wash’s favor, Ricks and the Mustangs caught fire and went on a stretch of 12 unanswered points with five coming from Ricks on service aces.
“When your server hits five aces that will give anyone a good run,” McCutcheon said.
Ricks ended her impressive night with 15 kills, 12 blocks and nine aces. Senior Ashley Johnson posted seven kills and helped Ricks anchor the New Washington defense with 10 blocks of her own.
Rock Creek forced many of errors from New Washington, but the Mustangs proved to be the better team when it was all said and done.
“We made some errors on our own part,” McCutcheon said. “Rock Creek is a very good team. They fought hard and forced alot of errors as well. We picked up our intensity and fought back like we have all year. I have enojoyed this season and I’m looking foward to having it extended.”
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY-SOUTH CENTRAL
From the start of the match, it was apparent who would be facing New Washington in the sectional final.
Christian Academy came out guns blazing and South Central had no answer to the onslaught. The Warriors looked to be a team on a mission, not giving the underdog Rebels any chance for an upset.
Sophomore Alex Falcone had her team firing at all cylinders as she made countless passes that ended up being slammed on the Rebels’ side of the net.
Almost every point Christian Academy scored was similar: pass, pass, kill.
Freshman Sierra Rayzor was on the recieving end of many of those passes, leading the Warriors with 13 kills. Boesing joined in on the fun punching home 12 kills. Emily Haworth added five kills, as Christian Academy pegged South Central with BBs all night.
“We played well from start to finish,” Pauly said. “Our service game has really been on as of late and we are passing the ball very well. We’ve started three freshmen and they are all playing well.”
South Central just seemed overmatched from the get go. A young team on the road with a hostile crowd, and that Christian Academy attack left the Rebels back peddling the whole game.
“We came in knowing it was going to be a difficult contest,” South Central coach Patty Shaffer said. “Christian Academy is one of the better teams, and we are young and inexpeirenced. After watching Rock Creek win a [set], I tried to stress that the underdogs can win. ... It just wasn’t our night.”
NEW WASHINGTON 3, ROCK CREEK 1
Rock Creek 12 14 25 19
New Washington 25 25 19 25
New Wash: Caroline Ricks 15 kills, 12 blocks, 9 aces; Courtney Amick 7 assists, 3 aces, 4 digs; Johnson 7 kills, 10 blocks, 2 assists, 1 dig; Kaitlyn Schindler 2 aces, 2 assists, 1 dig; Brianne Cochran 4 blocks.
Rock Creek: Katie Clapp 13 assists; Susan McCoy 4 kills, 4 blocks; Marissa Weedin 6 kills.
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 3, SOUTH CENTRAL 0
South Central 11 10 11
Christian Academy 25 25 25
CAI: Boesing 12 kills, 3 blocks; M. Haworth 4 kills, 2 blocks; Alex Falcone 24 assists, 4 aces, 2 digs; E. Haworth 3 kills, 5 aces; Rayzor 13 kills, 4 blocks, 2 aces.
South Central: Jasmine Nalley 1 kill, 5 digs; Issabelle Temple 2 kills, dig; Maddison O’Conner 1 assist, 2 blocks.