FLOYDS KNOBS — With only one returning starter from last season and a roster replete with youth, Floyd Central coach Bart Powell knows he will have to be patient this season.
Monday night that patience paid off as the host Highlanders outlasted Class 3A No. 5 Silver Creek 25-23, 16-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-7 in a matchup of two teams with a lot of new faces.
Sophomore Kyra Sharp tallied 19 kills and five blocks while junior Kayden Holcomb had 12 kills and eight blocks for Floyd (1-1), which bounced back from its season-opening loss at Bloomington South by beating a team that took two matches from the Highlanders last season.
“There were times when we were really good, and then we’d let them make big runs,” Powell said. “I totally expect it to be that way. At one point we had three freshmen, two sophomores and a senior on the court. So we’re going to play like we’re young and we did it in points. But I thought that fifth set, we controlled that fifth set.”
Silver Creek swept Floyd 3-0 in Sellersburg last year before edging the Highlanders 2-1 later in the season. Monday night the Dragons, who have two returning starters, got off to a good start, amassing a 19-10 lead.
Floyd, however, stormed back to score 12 of the next 15 points to tie it at 22. The Highlanders closed out their comeback a short time later.
The Dragons dominated the second set before Floyd reeled off the final five points of the third set to take it.
Creek slipped by Floyd in the fourth to force a deciding set.
In the fifth set the Dragons led 4-3 early before the Highlanders took control behind the hitting of Holcomb and freshman Caroline Hilbrich, as well as Sharp. Holcomb's final kill closed out the match.
Senior Lizzy Kane dished out 31 assists for Floyd while classmate Kassidy Hoback, the team's lone returning starter, tallied a team-high 16 digs.
The Dragons were led by Bella Hinton (18 kills) and Macie Garrison (38 assists) by their two returning starters.
“I thought we had a great effort. We’ve got a lot of new kids out there playing and they don’t know how to win yet. That’s the biggest thing, we’ve just got to learn how to win. I think we’re as good as Floyd Central, we just didn’t squeak it out tonight,” Silver Creek coach Jeff Zimmerman said.
It was an especially tough loss for Zimmerman, who was celebrating his 48th birthday.
"I knew it was his birthday. It’s actually my birthday Thursday, and believe me I don’t want to get beat on Thursday," said Powell, whose team hosts Brownstown Central at 7 p.m. that night. "Z does a great job with his kids. They’ve improved a lot in the last month, because we saw’em at Purdue camp and they weren’t that sharp, so he’s done a nice job with them.”