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Kayla Nobles hammered the ball down the sideline and the young Greencastle Tiger Cub volleyball team was tied 20-20 with four-time defending sectional champion Sullivan.
The score was tied at 22, 23 and so on, right through the regulation 25 points, before Sullivan squeezed out a 28-26 win in game one of the Class 3A Volleyball Sectional semifinals on Saturday morning at Greencastle High School's McAnally Center.
"I think losing in those extra-inning games is really hard on you emotionally because you put everything you have out on to the court. We got off to a poor start in game two and it was difficult to rebound from that," Greencastle coach Trish Lowe said.
Sullivan, led by outside hitter Brekiesha Weszely, closed out the match and Greencastle's season 25-10 and 25-14 in games two and three. Greencastle finished the year 6-24.
"I'm really pleased with the growth and development of this team," Lowe said.
With just one senior on the team, Greencastle did not bow out quietly, but made Sullivan work for the championship match berth.
Sullivan was on the brink of pulling away in game one before Greencastle found a second shot of adrenalin. Down 17-11, Greencastle started its rally off a Sullivan service error, got a kill from sophomore Braden Amis and aces from senior Brooke Lewis and a block from Chelsea Samuels to get within one, 20-19. Nobles' kill tied the match and put the Tiger Cubs in position to pull out a win.
A kill by Mallory Miller tied the score 24-24 and another by Amis knotted the score for the last time 26-26. A Greencastle service error put Sullivan on top to stay.
Game two was tied 4-4 when Sullivan put together a 5-0 run that Greencastle could not overcome. Sullivan got out to a 5-1 lead in game three, before Greencastle rallied to within, 9-8. The Golden Arrows outscored the Tiger Cubs 16-6 the rest of the way.
"To our credit [in game one] we were aggressive and didn't allow [Sullivan] to do what they wanted to do. In game two, we were less aggressive, just getting the ball back in play [and] they could do whatever they wanted to do," Lowe said.
The Tiger Cubs were led by Chelsea Samuels with nine kills, 12 digs and served five points. Kayla Nobles finished with five kills and 20 digs, while Brooke Lewis had five kills and 35 digs. Braden Amis had five kills, Jordyn Lewis 17 digs, and Mallory Miller passed out 10 assists, had 25 digs and one kill.
The loss ended Greencastle's rebuilding season and the career of Brooke Lewis, the only senior on the team. "And she will be missed," Lowe said.
"I'm proud of the growth of all the kids. Some kids were placed in positions that they were really not ready to do. We didn't have a choice. They did their job," Lowe said.
Volleyball Sectional #29
Greencastle 26 10 14
Sullivan 28 25 25
Highlights -- For Sullivan, Jenna Lisman served 16 points, had 10 kills, 1 block and 12 digs, Brekiesha Weszely 14 kills and 6 points, Lauren Adams passed out 35 assists, Alexa Lankhaar had 20 digs and 6 points, Mikaela Chagnon had 5 points and 3 aces, Kelsey Lane had 5 points, 2 aces and 2.5 blocks.
For Greencastle -- Chelsea Samuels had 9 kills, 12 digs and served 5 points, Kayla Nobles had 5 kills and 20 digs, Brooke Lewis had 5 kills and 35 digs, Braden Amis had 5 kills, Jordyn Lewis made 17 digs, and Mallory Miller passed out 10 assists, had 25 digs and 1 kill.
Greencastle finished the season 6-24.