LIZTON - Itâ€™s always hard to beat a team the second time.
South Putnamâ€™s volleyball team ran into that Thursday night in their sectional opener. Having defeated Covenant Christian in a quick three games during the season, the Warriors were much more game this time around.
â€śI think for three games we played really, really well, and then the last game we just quit hitting the ball,â€ť Eagle coach Jill Newton said. â€śYou canâ€™t go into sectionals and not hit the ball. We just kept freeing the ball over and we were on defense the whole time.â€ť
In game one, the Warriors came out firing on all cylinders, rushing out to a 13-4 lead.
South was able to pull back in the game, but never drew even. Down two was a close as they got, before the Warriors took five straight points to win the first game.
In game two, the Eagles were on the attack much earlier. A game of spurts, it was tied at eight different points before South gained a 19-18 advantage it would not relinquish.
Although the two teams traded service a few more times, the Eagles won the game on a side out, 25-21.
Game three was more of the same. The Warriors built a 10-5 lead, but the Eagles came back to tie it at 13. The game was tied again at 14 and 15, but from there, the Warriors slowly pulled away. Game three went to Covenant Christian 25-22.
In game four, the Warriors seemed to have new life, as the Eagles hit a wall. Covenant was attacking more fiercely, while the Eagles were barely attacking at all. One big run built an 11-6 lead, while another made it 23-13. From that point, there was little the Eagles could do to come back. The Warriors closed out 25-15 to take the match in four games.
â€śIf you expect to win at this stage of the season, you have to hit the ball. You canâ€™t just keep giving them easy setups,â€ť Newton said. â€śThe first three games, I thought we played great, thought we played with them, but that last game we didnâ€™t.â€ť
This season was Newtonâ€™s fourth at the helm at South Putnam, and she has seen the program grow. She gives much of the credit to her three seniors, Shelby Johnston, Sam Stanifer and Liz Mink.
â€śThe three seniors started when I started. They were freshman when it was my first year,â€ť Newton said. â€śSo, itâ€™s bittersweet for me because itâ€™s sad to let them go because they have built up so much of our program, but at the same time itâ€™s because of them that we have a program now. People want to play volleyball and it is turning into a successful program.â€ť
While looking forward to the continued growth of the South Putnam program, Newton also looks forward to the future each of these three could have in volleyball.
â€śI think all three of them have potential post-high school careers and thatâ€™s exciting because itâ€™s been a long time since a volleyball player from South Putnam has played at the collegiate level,â€ť Newton concluded.
Class 2A Volleyball Sectional 46
Covenant Christian 25 21 25 25
South Putnam 18 25 22 15
Kills -- Johnston 9, Mink 8, Boetjer 4, Burdge 1, Trauner 1
Assists -- Miller 12, Klotz 4, Boetjer 1
Points -- Miller 9 (2 aces), Johnston 8, Mink 7, Boetjer 5 (1 ace), Klotz 3, Sibbitt 2
The Eagles finish the season 13-15.