For the Daily Journal
Indian Creek dominated the first two sets then survived a hard-fought third to sweep host Whiteland in volleyball Wednesday.
The visiting Braves were hardly touched in winning the first two sets by scores of 25-14 and 25-11, but a rotation change in the third led to numerous errors that allowed Whiteland to hang around before Creek finished off the 25-22 win.
Despite the uneven third set, Indian Creek coach Jeff Fishburn was pleased with the way his team played.
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“We’ve worked really hard on our serving and our passing, and tonight I thought they showed up,” Fishburn said. “Unfortunately one of our front-row starters hurt her knee just last week so we’re still getting used to that, but we had a freshman over there now and I thought she really stepped up today. We’re out a couple of players but we just keep finding ways to compete.”
Indian Creek (10-3) made very few mistakes in the first two sets and did not trail aside from a brief moment early in game two.
The Braves opened the first set with three straight points, and after Whiteland tied the game at 6-6, Creek began to pull away. Led by Makenzie Coryell’s serving, the Braves went ahead 10-6, and kills by Madi Simmons and Taylor Burkett put the set away.
The second set was even more lopsided. Malea Brownfield kicked off Creek’s run with five straight service points — two via ace — to push her team ahead 5-1, then slammed the door with a nine-point service run late in the set to give the Braves a 23-9 lead. They cruised from there.
With a two-set lead, Fishburn opted to change his rotation around in the third set, and it nearly backfired. The two teams traded the lead 13 times and were tied 20 times in a back-and-forth affair.
While Whiteland clearly played better in the third set, the big reason why it was close was Indian Creek errors, particularly in serving. After missing just nine serves through the first two sets, the Braves had eight misses in the third alone.
Whiteland (1-9) took its final lead of the set at 22-21 on an Indian Creek hitting error, but the Braves got the serve right back on a Simmons kill. Simmons then stepped to the line and survived two Whiteland timeouts to serve her team to the win, getting aces on two of her final three attempts.
Brownfield was 21 for 24 serving with four aces to lead Indian Creek, while Simmons was 12 of 14 serving with two aces and 11 kills. Burkett added eight kills for the Braves. Toni Joyner led Whiteland’s serving by going 9 for 9, and she added four kills. Tabby Holzhausen was 8 for 9 serving with an ace and Abigail Quarles had four kills.
Indian Creek returns to action today when it hosts Edinburgh. Whiteland hosts Plainfield today.