At least one title streak will come to an end this week in the Class 3A Silver Creek Sectional.
That’s because the eight-team field features two reigning sectional champs — Christian Academy and the host Dragons. The Warriors have won seven consecutive sectional titles in Class A and 2A, but are in their first year of playing in 3A due to the IHSAA Success Factor. Silver Creek, meanwhile, is the two-time defending champion in this sectional.
Those two teams could conceivably meet in Saturday night’s title tilt, but there are six other squads that may have something to say about that.
“You can’t overlook anybody,” Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman said.
CAI (15-9) begins its quest for an eighth straight sectional title at around 7 p.m. tonight, when it takes on Corydon Central (11-15) in a first-round match. The Warriors swept the Panthers 3-0 on Aug. 29 in New Albany. Tonight’s first match, which is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., will pit Scottsburg (20-11) against Salem (18-7) in a battle between the third- and fourth-place teams in the Mid-Southern Conference. The Warriorettes outlasted the Lions 3-2 on Sept. 16 in Salem.
Charlestown (13-16) will face North Harrison (13-15) at 6 p.m. Thursday before the Dragons (18-12) take on Madison (8-19) in the final first-round match. The semifinals are slated for 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Saturday with the final scheduled for 7 p.m. that night.
The Warriors and Dragons didn’t play during the regular season, but both went unbeaten against the other teams in the sectional. Silver Creek was 6-0 while CAI went 4-0.
“We haven’t played CAI this year, or seen them play, so we really don’t know what to expect,” Zimmerman said. “But they’ve got a heck of a tradition.”
The Dragons are led by senior setter Macie Garrison, who has a team-high 616 assists and also ranks second on the squad in aces and third in kills and total blocks. Junior outside hitter Bella Hinton tops the teams in kills (284) and aces (72).
“It really helps to have kids like Macie and Bella — kids that have some experience and have been on the floor for some Final Fours,” said Zimmerman, whose team has also won back-to-back regional titles.
CAI is led by senior outside hitter Kendall Kerberg who tops the team in kills (442) and aces (69) while her classmate Halle Rankin leads the squad in assists (365).
"We are pretty excited about this week," first-year Warriors coach Chrissy Millen said. "We have been playing some good volleyball lately, winning eight of our last nine matches and the last five straight. But as I have emphasized to the girls, it is now one match at a time and staying focused on the team we are facing that night."
Meanwhile the Pirates are led by seniors Hannah Baker and Korea Tutt and juniors Kayleigh Smith and Lanae Crowe. Smith tops the team in kills (283) and aces (44) while Baker leads in digs (370), Tutt in total blocks (69) and Crowe in assists (325). Charlestown will try to avenge Sept. 12’s 3-2 loss in Ramsey when it takes on the Lady Cats on Thursday.
Below is a quick look at the other sectionals involving local teams.
CLASS 4A FLOYD CENTRAL SECTIONAL
Third-ranked Providence (25-1) is the prohibitive favorite having won eight straight sectional titles. The Pioneers’ lone loss this season was to No. 1 New Castle. They haven’t dropped a set in the six matches since then. Providence is led by outside hitters Ali Hornung (321 kills) and Courtney Glotzbach (277 kills). The Pioneers have a strong senior class led by Glotzbach, Maggie Purichia, who has a team-high 94 blocks; and Ceci Rush, who leads the squad in digs (275). Junior Emma Kaelin tops the team in assists (727) and aces (38).
If Providence wins Thursday night’s first-round match against Jennings County it will face the host Highlanders in the first semifinal. The Pioneers swept Floyd 3-0 Sept. 18, however, the Highlanders went on an 12-match winning streak after that loss before falling to 3A No. 3 Brownstown Central this past Saturday.
Floyd’s roster is replete with youth, but the Highlanders have some veterans too. Senior Kassidy Hoback tops the team in digs (178) while classmate Lizzy Kane leads the way in assists (424). Sophomore Kyra Sharp tops Floyd with 227 kills while freshman Caroline Hilbrich has 212.
Jeffersonville (17-13) will face Seymour (16-16) in Thursday night’s other first-round match. The Red Devils are led by senior Alayna Lacy, who tops the team in kills (196), aces (72), digs (255) and assists (450). Jeff, which enjoyed its first winning season in some time under first-year coach Wes Briscoe, will try to avenge a 3-0 regular-season loss at Seymour in its opener.
The winner of that match will face New Albany in Saturday’s second semi. The Bulldogs are led by seniors Riley Winslow and Blair Sprigler. Winslow tops the team in kills (275) and aces (46) while Sprigler has dished out a team-best 669 assists.
CLASS 2A HENRYVILLE SECTIONAL
The host Hornets (15-9) face Crawford County (15-10) at 7 p.m. in tonight’s first first-round match of the seven-team sectional. Henryville, which went 4-0 in the Southern Athletic Conference this season, swept the Wolfpack 3-0 last week in Marengo.
Clarksville (2-19) faces Eastern (7-18) in another first-round match Thursday night. The Musketeers swept the Generals 3-0 Aug. 27.
CLASS A SOUTH CENTRAL SECTIONAL
Two-time defending champion Rock Creek (22-6) will face Shawe Memorial (4-18) at 6 p.m. Thursday in the first first-round match of the six-team sectional.
The Lions are led by junior outside hitter Ligia Williams, who tops the team in kills (312) and total blocks (69), and senior setter Bailey Brown, who leads the way in aces (62), digs (282) and assists (583). If they win they’ll face New Washington (12-11) in Saturday’s first semifinal. Rock Creek beat the Mustangs 3-0 in New Washington on Sept. 4 and 2-0 Sept. 28 in the Trinity Lutheran Invitational. The Lions won the latter match 27-25, 25-18.
“I do have to give credit to New Wash for such a big improvement from our first meeting early in the season,” Rock Creek coach Jennifer Brown said after the second matchup.
The Mustangs are led by senior setter Audrey Eurton, who tops the team in assists (292), aces (55) and total blocks (37), and senior outside hitter Kalin Campbell, who leads the way with 160 kills.