When it needed to be, Logansport’s volleyball team was too much for Kokomo in a sectional match on Thursday night.
The Berries utilized a series of devastating runs to put away the Wildkats in three games, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, in a first-round match of the Class 4A Logansport Sectional.
“The kids were really excited to play tonight. I think it kind of got the best of us a little bit at the beginning, we were a little too jacked up,” Logan coach Jon Vernon said. “But I thought they did a good job of coming back. We came back that first match and the kids played hard. We did make some big runs tonight and we’re going to need to do that Saturday against McCutcheon.”
The Berries (19-13) will face McCutcheon (12-18) at 11 a.m. Saturday in a semifinal match. The Wildkats finish 13-20.
The theme of the match was the big runs the Berries were able to go on.
The Kats jumped out to an 18-12 lead in the first set before the Berries closed it out with a 13-4 run. Sydney Bullard had three kills and two aces during the key run of the match. Monika Ness had a kill and a block. Lauren Pruitt had a big kill and Karlee Vernon had a tip kill. Katie Easter had a great save that led to one of Bullard’s booming kills. Paulie Frye ended the set with a exclamation kill.
The second set had a similar finish with Logan going on an 11-3 burst to break open a 14-13 score. Frye had three straight aces during the run. Bullard had four kills and Nakeya Penny added a kill. Ness ended it with a block.
The Kats led 7-1 in the third set but a 15-3 run gave the Berries a 16-10 lead and they were able to hold on from there. Once again Bullard, who entered the match sixth in the state in Class 4A in kills, keyed the run with four kills. Penny pummeled the ball for a kill. Ness also knocked on wood with a kill. Easter had two aces and Lindsey Cheney added one.
It’s almost hard to believe that three weeks earlier the Berries lost to the Kats in four games after the way they were able to score in bunches against them on Thursday.
“I think we’ve gotten better. After that loss we had the realization that we needed to work and we needed to play hard and play as a team,” Jon Vernon said. “I think the kids did a good job tonight. I thought they stuck together and when we needed the big kills we got the ball to who we needed to and I thought the kids did a good job.”
Bullard finished with 15 kills and Penny added eight. Hannah Jones dished 20 assists and Easter added 19. Cheney led with 14 digs and Kailey Vernon had 10.
The McCutcheon match is a rematch of a three-game loss for Logansport (25-10, 25-23, 29-27) in the first match of the season on Aug. 20 in Lafayette.
“Sarah [Sutter] does a good job with them over there. They’re a good team,” Jon Vernon said. “When we played them at the beginning of the season, we are definitely not the same team now than then, and neither are they. I think we can play with them and if the kids play well we’ve got a good shot too.”
The Kats had to settle for a 13-win season, a seven-match improvement from last year.
“I felt like Logansport really played well and they served strong. We really struggled serving to spots,” Kokomo coach Jason Watson said. “We lost confidence towards the end of the first set and we never were able to get momentum back. It’s something we battled being on their home floor and they’re in their comfort zone and we lost confidence and we couldn’t get momentum back.”
Alanis Jones had eight kills and Tori Lauderbaugh added six to lead Kokomo. Miranda Ogle dished 13 assists.
Amanda Tran collected 19 digs and Lauderbaugh added 12. Jones and Mykayla Fowler each added a pair of blocks. Brooke Smith had two aces.
Definding champion Harrison will be a heavy favorite to knock off Marion in Saturday’s later semifinal. The final is at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.