Wildcats to play for sectional championshipOctober 17, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
The old saying says it's now how you start, it's how you finish. Jasper volleyball will be playing for a sectional championship Saturday evening because of the way it finished in Saturday afternoon's sectional semifinal game against Evansville North.
The Wildcats (14-16) took the decisive fifth set against Evansville North to advance to the championship game Saturday evening against Evansville Reitz. Jasper fell behind early in some of its sets to North, but began the fifth set on a 4-0 run. It only continued from there, as the Wildcats were firmly in the driver's seat. They built leads of 6-1 and 10-3 to give themselves a comfortable lead. The Huskies went on a couple of runs in the fifth set, but it proved insufficient, as Jasper took the final set, 15-10.
"I think the girls just came out and really played with their heart, and knew that they could do it - the girls out on the court, and the girls out on the bench and the rest of the team just going out there playing Jasper volleyball," Wildcats coach Jennifer Hohl said.
A fifth set almost was not necessary, as Jasper held to a 24-23 lead on North in the fourth set. However, the Wildcats let the Huskies back in it due to a foot fault on potentially the winning serve. North and Jasper traded points before the Huskies blocked a spike from Jasper senior Kayla Fuhs, and essentially forced a fifth set, 29-27.
"I think each game is a new opportunity to start back over and forget about your mistakes and move on," Hohl said. "The mistakes are in the past and you have to focus on the future. And that's what we said, going into this fifth set, that whatever has happened before in those previous games or previous sets that it didn't matter - that this game from zero to 15 is what matters right now."
Jasper can win its first sectional championship since 2016 with a win against the Panthers. The Wildcats fell to Evansville Reitz 3-1, on Aug. 18, almost two months to the day. Hohl said her players are more seasoned, and have moved some people around since the last time they played the Panthers. She said they've changed their lineup quite a few times, but have found something that works, and will be sticking with it.
Hohl believes her players will come back with a lot of fire and passion after they go home and rest for a bit. She said Jasper will need execute its spikes with a better pass, and also better the ball each time.
The 2002 Jasper alumna can win a sectional in her second season at the helm.
"For me and the girls and the rest of the team and the program, it would mean the world," she said. "I think they've been working so hard and we have faced some challenges this year that these girls deserve to win."
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