NEW ALBANY —
The Rock Creek Academy volleyball team was nearly upset by Borden, while New Washington won in three sets over Southern Athletic Conference rival Lanesville in Tuesday’s opening round of the Class A Christian Academy Sectional.
The Lions (19-7) and the Mustangs (15-8) will face each other in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. on Thursday. That will be followed by defending sectional champion Christian Academy taking on South Central in the second semi at 7:30 p.m. The championship will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
New Washington defeated Rock Creek last week in Sellersburg in three sets, but the Lions played the Mustangs relatively close in each game in their 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 setback.
“They’ve improved a lot and we have to come out, play strong and play smart in order to win that ballgame,” New Washington coach Michelle McCutcheon said. “That’s what we need to focus on in order to get past Rock Creek and get to the finals.”
The Lions had to rally from a two-sets-to-none deficit to defeat the Braves, 11-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-12. Rock Creek defeated Borden in four sets earlier in the season, but Lions’ coach Jennifer Brown said it was a much different Braves’ squad.
“We beat Borden earlier in the year, and obviously the girls thought it was going to be a lot like that. But certainly it was not,” Brown said. “They were much improved from the first time we played them.”
The Braves, who won four times this season, closed out the first set strong with an 11-2 run to get the 14-point victory. Borden then rallied from an early 6-1 deficit to win Set 2 by five points.
“The first two games were truly the team I knew they could be all year,” first-year Braves’ coach Gary Timberlake said. “Rock Creek has a tendency to throw tips down the line and that’s what ate us up last time. Tonight, we covered the tips better.”
Brown made a key move in the third set when she replaced junior middle hitter Brittney Page with freshman Carly Brewster. That substitution sparked the Lions as they led for the majority of the third set. Page then came back into the match in the fourth as the Lions won the set with a 6-1 run in the game’s final stages.
Rock Creek’s momentum continued in the fifth set. The Lions pulled out to a 10-4 lead and held off the Braves at the end.
“I was having real issues with [Page], one of my middle hitters, so I decided to sit her and put a freshman in for her in the third set,” Brown said. “It really got her mentally back into the game and that was a big turning point for us. That was a risky move and not that I didn’t want to make. But it was one I decided to make because I didn’t know what else to do at that point. But obviously it was the right thing to do.”
Susan McCoy led the Lion hitters with 16 kills and four blocks. Teammate Kylie Tincher had a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs. Also for Rock Creek, Katie Clapp made 83 assists and Ahyenday Thornton made eight digs.
Bailee Kruer paced Borden with 13 kills, while Shelbie Farvour chipped in 12. Teammate Haley Shouse had seven kills and five service aces.
Borden says goodbye to two seniors in Farvour and Caitlin McKinley.