By GREG MENGELT
NEW ALBANY —
After an early loss to Brownstrown Central in Saturday’s New Albany Ultra Ankle volleyball showcase, Floyd Central won its final two pool play matches, got some help and beat New Albany 25-20 and 25-9 to win the prestigious tournament on Saturday.
“I’m happy for our kids because I thought we could win this,” Floyd Central Bart Powell said. “This is a very talented group that’s growing up fast. They”ve got a great amount of talent. They just need a little more focus and they can dominate.”
With several seniors out taking the ACT during the opening-round loss to Brownstown, the Highlanders fell 25-23, 24-26, 17-15.
“We were a little short-handed and we didn’t have our emotional leader,” Powell said of Brooke Hinton.
The Highlanders came back in pool play and beat Columbus North 25-18 and 25-9 before an impressive 25-17, 25-12 victory over a Castle team that had just come off a win over Bronstown.
“We played with some fire in the second game and we came out against Castle and played out of our minds,” Powell said. “That’s the best match we’ve played all year. I want to see that more and more and more.”
Despite not playing as well in the championship, the Highlanders had little trouble getting by the Bulldogs for the second time this season, 25-20 and 25-9.
“We were kind of spent in the championship, but New Albany had a problem with a serve-receive,” Powell said.
“We played well in the first set then let down in the second,” New Albany coach John Breeding said of the championship match.
The tournament is in the middle of a tough stretch for the 11-6 Highlanders, who played in a tough New Castle Invitational field and lost a tough, five-setter to Providence last week. They have Assumption on Tuesday and Mercy Academy — one of the nation’s best teams — on Wednesday this week.
“We’ve been on a very tough schedule this past 15-20 days and it doesn’t get any easier,” Powell said. “We’ve got the ability to do great things. We want to peak at the end. With this tough of a schedule, you have to peak in the middle sometimes, too, or you’re going to get killed.”
New Albany won its pool with three straight-set wins. It opened ith a 25-6, 25-12 triumph over Jeffersonville, then beat Silver Creek 25-20, 25-16 and Jasper 25-18, 27-25.
“I was really pleased with the kids all day,” Breeding said. “We did what we had to do to get into the championship match. They brought intensity all day long and that’s something that’s been a concentration of ours. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask.”
Brook McCoy led the New Albany effort with 22 kills, 11 aces and 18 digs. Alexis Lete added 21 kills, six blocks and six aces. Madison Dibble had a Bulldog-best 40 digs and Sadie Meyer led New Albany with 42 assists.
Silver Creek went 2-2 on the day with a 25-18, 25-23 win over Jeff and a 25-23, 20-25, 15-7 triumph over Jasper.
“We played some really good volleyball at some points and we played some really, really bad volleyball at times,” Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman said. “We played some really good competition and that’s only going to help us get better.”
For the Dragons, Danni Densford and Morgan Reining had five kills apiece in a 25-14, 25-19 loss to Castle, Kendra Kirchgessner led the way with a 10-killl, two-block performance in the win over Jasper, Liz Mann finished with five kills and 14 digs in the loss to New Albany and Taylor Williams had four aces in the victory over Jeff. Kaitlyn Ramser had 59 assists on the day.
After a successful tournament like time it came to New Albany, Jeffersonville went winless on Saturday. Like Floyd, the Red Devils were missing many of their key players on Saturday.
“We had four seniors out today and we played with five JV players,” first-year Red Devil coach Renee Stock said. “Elizabeth Donaway and Grace Lowe were two of our JV players we pulled up and they had a good tournament … [but] we did not adjust to the new lineup.”
Hailey Lacy and Mary Pat Geary had 10 blocks apiece for the Red Devils. Bayley Whitlow finished with 36 digs and Lowe had 15 assists and 15 digs for Jeff.