By ARV KOONTZ
It seemed every time the Brownstown Central volleyball team needed a kill during Thursday night’s sectional match against Silver Creek, Riley Wischmeier was in the right place at the right time.
Wischmeier had 17 kills to go along with several tips for points and three solo blocks to help her team defeat the Dragons 26-24, 25-7, 25-22 in the Class 3A Sectional 30. The Braves will play Salem in the second match on Saturday as the Lions defeated Charlestown 25-12, 20-25, 25-14, 25-11 in Thursday’s first match. Saturday’s first match is Corydon Central against Madison at 11 a.m.
Wischmeier had the kill that put the Braves ahead for good in the first set, and she had the kill on the final point of the night.
“The sets were on tonight,” Wischmeier said. “Nicole [Thomas] played amazing. I was looking for holes in the court and finding them. A lot of our defense was talking to me, letting me know where to go. I was hitting mostly lines.”
The Braves got revenge after losing in three sets on the Dragons’ floor earlier in the season.
“I think we had a lot more confidence this game than we did when we played them during the season,” Wischmeier said. “We just really wanted to beat them because it was the sectional. We fed off (winning the first set) a lot.”
Braves coach Jennifer Shade agreed that winning the first set was key.
“Because if that would have swung the other way, then we would have been the ones back fighting, and when you get in that position, sometimes you don’t play your best,” Shade said. “You play on the defense rather than play on the offense.”
The Braves used a block by Danielle Meyer to build a 7-4 lead in the first set before the Dragons rallied to even the score. The Braves took their biggest lead of the set at 17-12 on a kill by Ally Barnette, but once again the Dragons rallied to tie the score.
The final tie came at 24 before Wischmeier and Barnette came up with back-to-back kills to give the Braves the win.
“That was huge for us to win the first set game and then set the tone,” Shade said.
That seemed to take some of the fire out of the Dragons as the Braves dominated the second set by building leads of 7-1, 11-2 and 17-3. They led 20-7 before scoring the final five points, with Brooke Otte serving an ace for set point.
The third set was tied at 11 before Silver Creek grabbed a 14-11 lead on an ace by Kendra Kirchgessner. The Dragons later held an 18-14 advantage before the Braves took advantage of passing errors by the Dragons to make it 20-20.
Brooke Ebbing, Barnette and Wischmeier had kills down the stretch that made the difference.
“I think you could see in their eyes their determination to win,” Shade said. “They were swinging harder and looking for the holes. That was important.
“We knew they were a good team. They beat us early in the year, but we picked apart the tape and we picked apart everything we knew about them, and we hoped we had the defense where we knew they would hit, and I felt like we did.”
Brownstown (22-12) was 82 of 93 in hitting with 33 kills. Ebbing had six kills, and Regan Harrison finished with four.
In serving, the Braves were 69 of 73 with seven aces.
“Our serving, taking them out of their offense, really helped,” Shade said. “It put them hitting back-row attacks versus running their offense, and that helped.”
She said she didn’t want to go a fourth set and give any momentum to the Dragons.
“I told them during the second timeout, ‘I’ve taken my two timeouts, and you’ve got to do this because we don’t want to have a dogfight here,’” Shade said. “That’s a great win, but we’re not done yet.”