By Beau Wicker
---- — It’s been an up and down season for Logansport’s volleyball team, but the Berries were able to put it all together to win the county championship on Saturday in the Berry Bowl.
The Berries hope to be celebrating another title next week when they are hosting a Class 4A sectional.The Berries defeated Pioneer 25-22, 25-14 in the county championship match to avenge a loss to the Class A No. 6 Panthers earlier this season. Earlier in the day the Berries defeated Caston 25-12, 25-14.
It was the Berries' second straight county title and 11th in the 13 years the event has been held.“We’ve been trying to focus on getting better for the sectional,” Logan coach Jon Vernon said. “We’ve played well all week long we just haven’t been able to finish things out. That’s one of the things we wanted to prove that we could actually finish out games. “It’s good for us to finish on our home court, especially for our seniors on our last regular-season home match before the sectional Thursday. We’re just pleased we won a tournament going into the sectional.”Pioneer led Logan 22-21 in the first set before a Sydney Bullard kill and then an ace gave the Berries a 23-22 advantage. Pioneer made back-to-back errors to close out the set.The Berries closed out the second set with an 8-0 run that was marked by a Bullard ace, a Monika Ness block and several errors by the Panthers.Bullard finished with eight kills, six digs and two aces in the match to lead the Berries (18-13). Nakeya Penny had five kills and a block. Hannah Jones dished 11 assists and Katie Easter added three. Lindsey Cheney collected eight digs. Paulie Frye added a block and Karlee Vernon had an ace. Pioneer coach Rod Nies certainly was not pleased with his squad’s effort.“We just never showed up. It’s been typical like this the whole season. We’re not a very good team at times. We just weren’t very good the whole night. My two best players tanked it. Hey, Logansport played great. I hope Logansport wins sectional. We’re going to really struggle trying to win a very weak sectional. We’re going to struggle, I guarantee it,” he said.The Panthers were short-handed playing without setter Riley Morris, who’s out with a knee injury.“It hurts. We have girls that can step right in and play that spot. We can shuffle the lineup, we can switch some things up,” Nies said. “When it comes down to it, it’s about going out there and competing and playing with heart, focus, playing with some intensity. There was none of that tonight in either of the matches we played.“It was one of those things, Logansport played great and we just didn’t play our game tonight.”Earlier in the day Pioneer defeated Lewis Cass 25-20, 25-21 in a semifinal. The Panthers closed out game one with a 5-0 run that included three straight kills by Sarah Dorris. Cass defeated Caston 22-25, 25-19, 15-6 in the consolation.“Other than that little brain glitch we had in set one in the Caston match, I thought we played pretty well tonight,” Cass coach Gretchen Crum said. “We have to play good defense or we don’t seem to be able to do anything else with it. “It was nice to play Pioneer, because that’s the closest we’re going to get to Southwood as far as having hard hitters and those sorts of things. I had my managers write down about four things we can do in practice and we’ll see what we can do.”Claire Crum had nine kills and 13 digs on the day for the Kings (10-17). Kassi Zeck collected 21 digs. Tori Powell had six aces, six kills and 15 digs. Gabi Hartley dished 18 assists and Bailey Gremelspacher added 15. Trisha Hartley had 11 kills and Aubrey Young added nine.The Comets (8-21) were able to take a set off the Kings and give them a scare despite having a player recently dismissed for grades and another player that was at a softball tournament.“I pulled a freshman up. I think Emily [Rowe] did great, she was just a little timid but she’ll get there,” Caston coach Taylor McFarland said. “I think the girls are just learning to play with heart and passion. I think that’s never been a standard for them in the past because as soon as they get down then they’re down and they don’t try to come back. I’m proud of them for the effort they gave. There’s so many games this season that we have been so close. We’re competing but we’re not pulling out the wins and I think that’s going to come in building seasons in the future.”The Comets were led in kills on the day by Haley Hoover and in digs by Madison Martin.