INDIANAPOLIS -- For the South Putnam volleyball team, the winning formula has been simple all year: communication = success.
Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles struggled with their communication on Thursday at the Covenant Christian Sectional, and Cascade took advantage, sending the Eagles home in three games, 25-12, 25-11, 25-15.
"There were a couple of moments there in the last game, too, but when you come into sectionals, you have to be aggressive. You have to be ready to play. And it has to be consistent throughout the entire match, not just a play here and there," she added.
The Eagles could keep a game close in the very early going, but they always fell victim to the strong front line play of the Cadets. Three different Cadets finished the evening with at least five kills.
The Eagles also struggled with unforced errors, getting into the net a number of times as well as being whistled for various other violations.
"Consistency has obviously been a big issue, but communication has, too," Newton said. "With this team, when we communicate, we play well. We just can't get it through our heads that that's something we have to do all the time. That's something that I think would be a major focal point for next year would be working on communication. That gets everything started for us."
In game one, Cascade took control early. After taking a 5-3 lead, the Cadets ran off the next nine points on the service of Alyssa Suter. With the 14-3 lead in hand, they essentially traded points with the Eagles all the way to a 25-12 win.
Game two was a case of several smaller runs, but the outcome was similar. The Cadets were able to grab the momentum, while the Eagles could only generate three service points for the entire game. South fell 25-11.
Game three was the closest of the evening, but was still a struggle for South. The hitting and service of the Cadets once again carried the game, as they closed out the match with a 25-15 victory.
Senior Oceaia Boetjer led the Eagles with four kills and five points. Emily Dabkowski had four assists to lead the way.
Thursday was the final game for Boetjer, Abbie Trauner and Kaleigh Miller. Newton said she'll miss a group that has marked a change in attitude for South Putnam volleyball.
"My three seniors, Kaleigh, Abbie and Oceaia are three girls who really like the sport of volleyball. This was something that meant something to them," Newton said. "When I first started out, I felt like volleyball was something that a lot of the girls took as a joke sport at South Putnam because there was a big turnover in coaches and no continuity.
"These girls have had me with them since their seventh grade year," she continued. "It was nice to have girls that truly liked the sport and wanted to be here and wanted to play. They'll be missed."
Even in their absence, though, 2009 could hold good things for South, as they have a large group returning. Their young team this year will translate into an experience group next year.
"I think we have a really bright future. We have a young team; we're losing three important players, but a lot of the players are young," Newton said. "We also have a good eighth grade class coming up, so I think there's a bright future to look forward to. Hopefully we can continue to push and take this to the next level."
The Eagles close the season at 11-15.
At Covenant Christian
Volleyball Sectional # 46
South Putnam 12 11 15
Cascade 25 25 25
Points -- O. Boetjer 5, Miller 3, Sibbitt 2, Trauner 2 (SP), Stewart 13, Suter 13, Estes 8, Smith 5, Burdge 5, Hopper 3, Sallee 1, Wichman 1 (C)
Aces -- O. Boetjer 1, Trauner 1 (SP), Estes 4, Burdge 2, Suter 2, Sallee 1, Smith 1, Hopper 1 (C)
Kills -- O. Boetjer 4, B. Boetjer 3 (SP), Suter 8, Smith 5, Hoppper 5, Burdge 2 (C)
Assists -- Dabkowski 4, Miller 3 (SP), Stewart 21 (C).
South Putnam finishes the season 11-15.