Wins have been hard to come by for the Greenwood volleyball team, but opening up the Johnson County tournament on their home floor Wednesday, the Woodmen were able to get one.
The hosts swept Whiteland to win their opening-round match, 26-24, 25-16, 25-23, earning a semifinal date with Mid-State Conference rival Franklin today.
In Wednesday’s other match, Indian Creek avenged a recent defeat by taking down Edinburgh, 25-19, 25-16, 17-25, 25-19. The Braves will play Center Grove in today’s other 5:30 p.m. semifinal. The championship match will follow at approximately 7 p.m.
Greenwood appeared to take control of a tight opening set when an Emily Struewing kill broke a 17-17 tie and sparked a 5-0 run. The Warriors, though, countered with six points in a row to reclaim the lead. The two sides continued to trade blows until a kill by Alyssa Stilley put it away for Greenwood, 26-24.
Story continues below gallery
The Woodmen took that momentum and rode it through the second and third sets to complete the sweep. Whiteland made a big surge late in Game 3 to tie it at 21-21 before Greenwood finished it off.
Greenwood coach Amanda Ratliff said she was never terribly concerned that her Woodmen would not be able to take care of business when things got tight.
“Even though the score was close, I felt like we were a little more in control,” she said. “So I wasn’t too worried — but obviously, you never know what can happen.”
Camryn LaMonaca paced Greenwood with 18 kills on the day, while Lauren Battinau had 34 assists. For Whiteland, Elaina Robards had 10 digs, and Tabby Holzhausen added 17 assists and a pair of blocks.
Despite the loss, Warriors coach Kristin Estridge was happy with her team’s effort, and she’s hopeful that the chance to play in a tournament environment will serve them well with state tourney time coming up.
“We’re very young,” Estridge said, “and so this the first type of atmosphere that some of our kids have experienced — and that’ll be good for them coming into sectionals.”
In the other gym, Indian Creek got off to a hot start, taking the first two games from an Edinburgh team it had lost to in five sets on Sept. 8.
Junior libero Tori Travers, who posted a match-high 26 digs, said that getting out of the gate quickly was “so important” for the Braves.
“Last time (against Edinburgh), we really got down on ourselves,” she said. “Today we picked ourselves up when were getting down. Instead of just automatically thinking we were going to lose, we came out and played like a team.”
The Lancers (14-11) bounced back to win the third set, but the Braves regrouped, using a late 9-0 run on the serve of sophomore Morgan Hogue to seize command of the fourth at 24-17.
Hogue finished with nine kills, 23 digs and six aces to lead the Braves. Malea Brownfield had 45 assists, and Sara Knight and Taylor Burkett contributed 10 kills apiece.
Indian Creek coach Kristi Gubert knows her girls will be heavy underdogs today against the 10th-ranked team in Class 4A, but she refuses to count them out.
“I tell them that they can do whatever they put their mind to,” Gubert said.