Different year, same song.
Once again, the Franklin volleyball team was able to hold its own against county rival Center Grove — but while the game scores were close, the Grizzly Cubs weren’t quite able to get over the top.
Senior Emma Jones had 10 kills and a pair of blocks and sophomore setter Madison Hammill doled out 30 assists as the Class 4A No. 4 Trojans finished off a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 triumph at home Thursday.
Center Grove (8-1) was able to secure the win despite a Herculean effort from Brooke Phillips. Franklin’s junior setter totaled 21 kills, 14 assists and 12 digs in defeat.
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“We just have to focus on playing our game, even when they’re playing well,” Hammill said, “because they are a great team, especially with Brooke putting the ball away a lot. So we just have to focus on playing our game and just doing what we know how to do.”
The Trojans matched their largest lead of a back-and-forth opening set when kills by Anna Line and Jones followed by a Hammill ace made it 23-19. Franklin (9-2) staved off one set point on an Alyvia Sundheimer kill before Jones put away the decisive point.
Back-to-back aces by Hammill keyed a surge that gave Center Grove a 19-14 lead in the second set. The Grizzly Cubs bounced back to get as close as 21-20 on a cross-court kill by Alivia Brown, but the Trojans were able to close it out behind an Ellen LeMasters kill and a Taylor Dempewolf block.
Senior setter Devynn Merriman (18 digs) started the Trojans off in the third with a pair of aces, and they held that lead the rest of the way. Franklin fought back from an eight-point deficit to get within three at 24-21 before Jones slammed the door shut with a hard kill.
Despite the loss, Franklin coach Roxanne Chapman was pleased with how her team performed, especially early in the match.
“We played well in the first couple of games,” she said. “It’s just one of those things where we’re going to have to figure out how to key on a few people.
“They ran their offense really well, and we’ve just got to push the ball up so we can do the same.”
Center Grove, though glad to get the sweep, is more focused on improving for later in the season, including potential rematches with the Grizzly Cubs in the county tournament and the sectional.
“I don’t think it means anything to us until the very end of the season, when it really comes down to it,” Hammill said. “These games are important, for sure, but we continually have to get better.”