By the end of its ninth set of the day, the Indian Creek volleyball team was out of gas.
The Braves, who survived a five-set sectional semifinal thriller against Tri-West on Saturday afternoon, carried the momentum into the evening and won their first set against favored Danville. But the energy quickly faded, and the Warriors were able to pull away for a 22-25, 25-16, 25-9, 25-16 triumph.
Host Indian Creek finished with a 25-9 record, setting a program mark for wins in its first season under coach Jeff Fishburn.
Despite falling short Saturday, Fishburn is optimistic about the direction of the program.
“I think we’re going to be a better team next year, to be honest with you,” he said. “No offense to the four seniors — I love them to death — but I think what we’ve got is going to bode well for the future.”
The potential was evident in the first set against the Warriors (30-4). After trailing 15-12, the Braves surged ahead 17-16 on a Taylor Burkett kill, then went up three on consecutive aces from Malea Brownfield. Danville twice got back within a point, but a Burkett block closed out the set.
Indian Creek led 6-4 in the second game, but Danville reeled off six points in a row to pull ahead for good. The Braves didn’t hold another lead until 13-12 in the fourth, a set that saw the Warriors score 12 of the final 14 points.
Fishburn noted that his team struggled with its serve receive down the stretch, and conceded that fatigue may have been a factor against a Danville team that had swept Indianapolis Herron in the day’s early semifinal.
“It’s tough not to give Danville credit; that’s a really good team, and I think they’ve got a chance to do some damage,” Fishburn said. “But when you play that many sets, it’s going to wear on you a little bit.”
Indian Creek showed plenty of grit in battling past Tri-West during the afternoon, eking out a 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 15-12 victory.
Burkett was the driving force for the Braves in that win, particularly in the fifth set. Anytime Indian Creek needed a critical point, the ball was headed toward the junior.
“When in doubt, you go to your gun, and Taylor’s our gun,” Fishburn said.