By GREG MENGELT
Jasmine Harrell served 20 Henryville points as the host Hornets sailed into the second round of the Class 2A Henryville Sectional semifinals.
Harrell got all 26 of her serves in play and had nine aces as the Hornets swept Clarksville, 25-18, 26-24, 25-13 in Thursday’s first quarterfinal.
“She is a very consistent server. She always has been,” Henryville coach Shallon Hill said. “She was definitely a big contributor.”
“Coach has talked all year about finding a spot on the floor and putting it there,” Harrell said. “I really focused on that tonight. I didn’t want to lose those points, so I really focused on my serve tonight and that’s the way I contributed to the team.”
For the night, Henryville (10-23) served 18 aces, including four from Audrey Vanmeter and two apiece by Courtney Rappe and Emily Hollis.
“You can’t win a match if you get aced  times,” Clarksville first-year coach John McEwen said. “Generally, the matches we win, we serve-receive really well. Unfortunately tonight, our serve-receive was not good.”
After serving four straight aces to give Henryville a 13-9 lead in the first set, Harrell stepped to the service line with the Hornets trailing 24-21 in the second set.
Two straight aces got Henryville within 24-23. A block by Cassidy Mull tied the score. A Clarksville (6-21) error gave the Hornets their first lead in the set since 13-12, then a Mull kill on a Chelsea Lamotte assist closed out the crucial set.
Harrell admitted that she wanted to have the serve in that pressure situation.
“I’m not overly confident, but I was confident enough to keep my serves in and stay focused,” she said.
“She’s a great leader,” Hill said. “She has played for me all four years varsity and this senior year, she’s really, really become a better leader than I ever thought I would see.”
While he praised Harrell’s serving ability, McEwen said the responsibility for the second-set collapse lay squarely on his team’s shoulders.
“We’ve talked all season about staying engaged and finishing a set,” McEwen said. “It’s not the first set we’ve lost being ahead like that, and we focused on it all week at practice. Unfortunately, we’re either on or off and for the last five points [of the second set], we were off.”
Thirteen Henryville second-set errors helped give the Generals the lead. For the night, the Hornets had 28 miscues, including 21 in the first two sets.
“We had too many errors,” Hill stated. “Our communication was awful. We did not talk near enough. We were flat. We weren’t ready to play.”
In the third set, three straight Henryville points on Harrell’s serve, following a Clarksville error, gave the Hornets a 4-0 lead and they never trailed in the set.
The advantage ballooned to 14-4 before the Generals made an Ali Sparkman-led run to get within 17-11. However, Henryville responded with four straight points. Vanmeter, who finished with a Henryville-best 10 assists, set up kills by Mull and Lamotte. She then served consecutive aces and the Hornets were up 21-11.
Appropriately, a Rappe ace closed out the match.
The Hornets will face xxxx in Saturday’s first semifinal. Class 2A No. 2 Providence will square off with Paoli in the second semi.
“Hopefully, we’re better on Saturday,” Hill said. “We’ve got to play significantly better than we did today or [xxxx will] run us out of our own gym.”
“We’re just going to have to come ready to play,” Harrell said. “I don’t think we came ready to compete and communicate, but I think we will on Saturday.”
After going winless in each of the past two seasons, Clarksville made great strides under McEwen. The Generals say goodbye to seniors Chloe Stephens, Hannah Heintzman and Duggan.
“We’re disappointed with the loss, but from where they started to where the finished, there’s been a huge improvement,” McEwen said. “You can’t teach kids to want to win. I think they want to win, I’m just not sure they know how to do it yet. We have to teach them how to win.”
Sparkman led Clarksville with eight kills and she had both of the Generals’ blocks. She also contributed with an ace and an assist.
“Ali’s a really special girl,” McEwen said. “I think she could play any sport she wanted and be a star. She leads with her play. It’s good to have her back next year.”
CLASS 2A HENRYVILLE SECTIONAL
CLARKSVILLE 18 24 13
HENRYVILLE 25 26 25
Kills — Clarksville: 16 (Ali Sparkman 8); Henryville 28 (Courtney Rappe 10).
Blocks — Clarksville: 2 (Sparkman 2); Henryville 5 (Cassidy Mull, Chelsea Lamotte, Haley Huddleston, Shelby Basham, Emily Hollis).
Assists — Clarksville: 14 (Hannah Elder 13); Henryville 20 (Audrey Vanmeter 10).
Aces — Clarksville: 3 (Katey Duggan, Sparkman, Bailey Sharp); Henryville 18 (Jasmine Harrell 9).
Digs — Clarksville: 24 (Sparkman 9); Henryville 45 (Harrell 15).