Slow start dooms Jeeps in sectional finalOctober 19, 2019
By LYNN ADAMS
FRENCH LICK — In hindsight, Northeast Dubois interim head coach Madison Mundy and her team would probably have changed a few things for Saturday night’s Class A sectional against the host Springs Valley Blackhawks.
“I wish we would have swung a little bit more,” Mundy said in retrospect. “There were opportunities there that we really didn’t take advantage of — we tipped a lot more than I would have liked to, and at the beginning we weren’t really moving our feet and covering our back row as well — so I wish we could have covered a little bit better and maybe swung a little bit more. It is what it is.”
For the Jeeps, who fell behind by two sets but forced a deciding fourth set before Springs Valley claimed its 16th sectional championship, colorful Dallas Cowboys quarterback-turned-sports commentator Don Meredith’s catchphrase seemed to apply: “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.”
If the tears that flowed in the Northeast Dubois locker room after the 3-1 defeat that ended the Jeeps’ season at 17-9 are any indication, the volleyball team will not have a merry Christmas.
But Mundy, who is 1-1 after stepping in after coach Misty Smith’s abrupt resignation, was impressed with her team’s performance.
“We played really well. I was really impressed,” she said. “Taylor Dodd and Chloe Terwiske, they played their hearts out tonight. Taylor had some awesome hits, and Chloe had some awesome digs and sets. All of our hits were amazing, and she did a great job. Hadley Fuhrman, too — she did great. She had an injury at the beginning of the game, and we thought she was going to go down, but she came back, and she was playing almost harder than she was before after that. She did a wonderful job. Even the back row, we had our two middles step up — Reagan Knies and Rhylan Kalb, they both stepped up — and as freshmen, it was awesome, and they played their back row and they covered really well. Every member of the team tonight did a great job.”
After reaching the championship match by obliterating woeful Cannelton in Saturday’s first semifinal, 25-2, 25-6, 25-8, the Jeeps took a while to find their footing against the Blackhawks.
“The first two games were a little slow-paced, but we came back those last two games, and we had fight,” Mundy said. “I feel like that was just the difference. We needed to come out and we needed to be intense, and we did that those last two games, but things didn’t work out.”
For Northeast Dubois in the title game, the two-set hole was too much to overcome, and the Jeeps endured too much Jewel McCormick, the 6-foot-tall frontline force who recorded 23 kills on the night to give her 514 for the season.
Springs Valley jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the match before amassing advantages of 14-5 and 21-10 en route to a 25-12 verdict.
The Jeeps tried to stay with the Blackhawks in the second set, clawing back from an early 5-1 deficit before Fuhrman went down with an apparent knee injury after Northeast Dubois closed to within 7-4. The Jeeps stayed within striking distance at 15-10 and 20-15, but Springs Valley had the momentum and posted a 25-18 count to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Northeast Dubois turned the tables on the Blackhawks in the third set, fashioning leads of 7-3, 12-5 and 21-12 in a set in which the Jeeps never trailed and posted a 25-17 win to show that they were still alive in their quest for a seventh sectional title.
The Jeeps owned a 6-4 advantage in the fourth set, and were tied with Springs Valley at 10, but the Blackhawks went on a 12-2 run to take a 22-12 lead. Northeast Dubois fought to stay in contention with a late 7-2 run, but a kill by Montana Pendley was the exclamation mark for the champions who upped their season record to 27-6 heading into this week’s regionals.
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