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 Lady Panther Volleyball Struggling Against Tough Early-Season Schedule


August 22, 2007 - Knightstown’s varsity volleyball team has run into some tough competition in what could be considered a rebuilding year. But the Lady Panthers, despite falling to 0-5 on the season, haven’t been an easy target for any of the competition.

Last Thursday, the girls took Rushville to the limit, falling in four games by scores of 23-25, 25-22, 31-33 and 18-25. The girls had lost their opener the day before to Centerville, Centerville 15-25, 9-25 and 7-25.

“We played much better than Wednesday, but we couldn’t put the game away when we had the chance,” Coach Carrie Underwood said. Game 3 was the key, and once we lost that, we didn’t regain the energy necessary to win the match in five games.”

The marathon game three was won by the Lady Lions 33-31.

Against Rushville, Crystal Heim led Knightstown in digs with 24 and in kills with 12. Haley Cruse added 20 digs, while Junior Brandi Lightner and freshman Hannah Jackson added eight kills each. Jackson also had five aces and 11 assists.

Lightner led in assists with 16.

“Although we had more kills in this match, we still had too many hitting errors for us to be successful,” Underwood said. “Brittany Dreisbach and Ashley Goller (both juniors) each added the first two kills of their varsity careers, and stepped in nicely.

“Although our 0-5 record is not indicative of the talent on the team, we are definitely making progress and improving as a team. These girls are working very hard, and just need to play with more consistency and discipline for us to have the success we have been accustomed to having.”

Knightstown started out strong in the three-game loss to Centerville, playing well early in the first game.

“We struggled to match Centerville’s aggressiveness and intensity,” Underwood said. “Megan Grant led in kills with four and was the vocal leader we need her to be. Haley Cruse led in digs with 20. Freshman Hannah Jackson started her varsity career with a solid performance.”

On Saturday the Lady Panthers played in the Southwestern Invitational. They lost their first match to the hosts 10-25 and 23-25. They fell to a talented Greenwood team in the second match 15-25 and 15-25 to Greenwood, and lost 18-25 and 17-25 to Greensburg, the tournament’s eventual champion.

“We continued to see progress from our matches earlier in the week, but we still didn’t play with the consistency we need,” Underwood said. “All three teams we played were much taller than us, which is going to be most teams this year. That requires us to be even more precise with our passing and hitting.

“We did not pass the ball as well as we need to in order to be successful. All 11 girls provided positive contributions.”

Megan Grant and Chrystal Heim led the team in kills with four apiece against Southwestern. Freshman Jodie Grant got her first varsity kill, and sophomore Lindsay Kennedy came in as a back row sub and played well in this tournament, Underwood said.

“Ashley Griggs continued her improved play throughout the tournament,” Underwood said. “She led us in kills against Greenwood, and played with much more aggressiveness. Janice Ortman had her best hitting match of the season leading us with 5 kills against Greensburg.”

Knightstown’s junior varsity team is 3-0 following wins against Centerville, Rushville, and Crispus Attucks, with positive contributions from all team members.

The girls are at Blue River tonight (Wednesday) and host Wes-Del Thursday at 6 p.m. They are playing in the always-tough Cowan Invitational Saturday, with the first match scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.




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