Center Grove High School first-year volleyball coach Maggie Harbison had been waiting for this kind of intensity from her squad.
“I’ve been wanting to see my team fight and finish a game, and I feel like we did it (Tuesday night), so I’m proud of them,” Harbison said.
It was quite the impressive finish, as the host Trojans upset Class 4A No. 4 Carmel three sets to two in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference match.
The Trojans (4-3, 2-0 MIC) won 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 16-25, 15-12.
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In the fifth set, Carmel grabbed a 3-1 led before the Trojans rebounded to take an 11-7 lead. At that point, the Greyhounds (7-4, 0-1 MIC) scored the next three points.
With Center Grove leading 12-10, Ellen LeMasters registered an ace that just went over the net to make it 13-10 and help the Trojans regain momentum.
“Ellen played great,” said Harbison, a 2010 Carmel graduate and former Butler player. “They had a big middle (Alexandria Hicks), and she was tough to defend. They’re a good team. I feel like they adjusted to a lot of things we were doing. We just really focused on relentless defense.”
After the Greyhounds won the first set 25-21, the Trojans rebounded to win two tight sets. The Greyhounds came charging back to knot it at two sets apiece with a 25-16 win in set No. 4. The Trojans closed the deficit to 18-15 in the fourth set, but Carmel scored the next six points to grab control at 24-15.
Harbison praised the play of junior libero Devynn Merriman and junior middle Emma Jones in the match.
Jones led the Trojans with 13 kills. Outside hitter Macy Carrabine, the team’s only senior, and LeMasters each contributed 11 kills.
“This was definitely a very hard team to beat, but we did it,” said Merriman, who delivered a team-high 28 digs. “The key was staying relaxed, staying together as a team and trusting our coach.”
Following the fourth-set loss, Merriman said the team had a crucial chat.
“We figured what we needed to do and went out and performed it,” Merriman said.
Ashley Eck added 22 digs for the Trojans.
Center Grove reached the 4A semistate final before losing to state champion Cathedral last season.
“We have about half the players back from that team,” Harbison said. “We’re playing with a freshman setter (Madison Hammill).”
Hammill delivered 47 assists and 13 digs in Tuesday’s win.