Jasper sends Bears into sectional hibernation

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Jasper's Allison Mair hits the ball during Thursday's volleyball sectional in Jasper. Jasper defeated Evansville Central 3-0. For more photos from the match, click here.

By LYNN ADAMS
sports@dcherald.com

JASPER ­— In volleyball, 25 points wins a set, and three sets win a match. Jasper tallied 25 points in all three sets Thursday night in first-round play of the Class 4A sectional on the Wildcats’ home court. It took Evansville Central three sets to score 25 points — total.

And, simply put, that’s why the Wildcats are headed to Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. semifinals against Evansville Harrison with their sights set on a fourth consecutive sectional championship game.

Having advanced to the sectional finals the past three seasons in Class 4A after a history of winning sectional titles in Class 3A, Jasper is approaching the postseason with focus and determination, which has resulted, at least in the opening round, in victory and a lot of fun.

“We had a high-intensity practice — lots of effort, lots of communication — this week preparing for Central,” Jasper coach Jennifer Hohl said. “We told the girls we have to take it game by game — we can’t look any further than that. So we took care of business out there tonight.

“We have found out that when we do the things that we’re supposed to do, when we’re supposed to do them, it is fun to play out there, and then it reflects on the bench and on the coaching staff, too. It was a fun win tonight.”

It took the Wildcats just 45 minutes to post lopsided wins of 25-6, 25-12 and 25-7 — and it wasn’t that close — to send the Bears into early hibernation.

After Central took a 3-2 lead in the first set, Jasper reeled off 11 consecutive points while Reagan Egbert was serving, then scored 15 of 16 and 23 of 26 points to take the first set.

Although the Bears managed twice as many points in the second set, it was more of the same for the Wildcats. With the set tied at 4, Jasper scored seven consecutive points (coincidentally when Egbert was serving) and 18 of the next 22 for a 22-8 advantage before claiming the win.

In the deciding set, the Wildcats jumped out to a 9-4 lead, then registered 14 consecutive points with Kate Green serving for a 23-4 cushion before cruising to the easy win.

Jasper's Meredith Hilgefort cheers with teammates after winning a point in Thursday's volleyball sectional in Jasper. Jasper defeated Evansville Central 3-0. For more photos from the match, click here.

Egbert led Jasper in kills with seven (along with Riley Merder), 16 digs and six aces. Green paced the Wildcats with 18 assists.

“I think our seniors did really well tonight. [The team] stuck to the plan of attack, which was good. It’s always nice that our girls can be that consistent whenever we’re giving them specific zones to go to. Overall, I think the whole team did really well — on the court and the bench supporting each other and enjoying the moments now,” Hohl said.

“We came out with a lot of focus. We all have one common goal in the end, which is to, obviously, win sectional, and I think we’re all on the same page on that, and we know what we need to do. We don’t want to overlook anybody, so we need to take care of business when we’re out there on that court, and still play at our level, that we know, that we don’t drop down, and we don’t play to somebody else’s level, that we stick to our game that we’ve been practicing, and that we know we can be successful with.”

Jasper (20-12 on the season) has seen its semifinal opponent, but only at a distance. Evansville Harrison was one of the teams at the Jasper Invitational earlier in the season, but the Wildcats did not play the Warriors. Nevertheless, the Wildcats are taking the same approach they did in preparing for Central.

“It’s the same game plan [as] going into the Central game. We’re going to have a high-intensity practice [Friday], with lots of effort and communication, and just continue to grow the things that have been working for us.”




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