FLOYDS KNOBS —
It was an exciting night in the opening round of the Class 4A Floyd Central Sectional on Thursday night at Highlander Gymnasium.
The first match was a barnburner, while the nightcap provided an upset.
Class 4A No. 6 Floyd Central defeated seventh-ranked and Hoosier Hills Conference rival Seymour in the sectional opener, 22-25, 25-20, 25-16, 14-25, 15-11. It was the third time the teams have played each other this season with the Highlanders winning two of them.
New Albany followed by surprising Bedford North Lawrence in Thursday’s second match, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-23.
The Bulldogs and the Highlanders will square off in Saturday’s first semifinal at 10 a.m. The second semifinal will pit Jeffersonville against Jennings County at about noon. The championship match will be at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The Owls (30-4) had the momentum entering the fifth set. They closed out the fourth set with five consecutive points to win by 11 and tie the match at two games apiece.
The final set was nip-and-tuck with the largest lead being four points. The Highlanders (26-8) put some daylight between them and Seymour in the closing moments of the match. With Floyd Central up 12-11, junior setter Remi Bowman delivered a kill to extend the lead to two.
Bowman followed that up with a service ace to give the Highlanders a 14-11 advantage. The match ended when Seymour junior Audrey Speer spiked the ball into the net, as the Floyd Central players celebrated on the court in pulling off the hard-fought victory. It was the second time this season the squads have played a five-set match.
“I gave them my best Knute Rockne speech between Games 4-5 and we held on,” Highlanders’ coach Bart Powell said. “We knew Seymour was coming in to rock us.”
Tierney Flaherty led the Floyd Central hitters with 13 kills, while teammate Mikaila Humphrey had eight kills. Highlander senior Sydney Engle had a solid all-around match with 19 digs, seven kills and four blocks. Bowman dished out 35 assists.
As for the Floyd Central defense, Brooke Hinton made 33 digs and Kaylie Dempster ended up with 22.
Seymour senior outside hitter Hayden Dailey delivered a match-high 25 kills along with four aces. Teammate Megan Kimbley chipped in 13 kills and six blocks.
The match was the last for long-time Owls’ coach Angie Lucas, which Powell praised afterwards.
“She’s an outstanding coach,” Lucas said. “She’s got I’m going to guess around 600 wins as a coach in her 25-30 years.”