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 Lady Spikers Get First Victory of Year Over Blue River


August 29, 2007 - The Knightstown Lady Panther volleyball team earned its first win of the season against Blue River last Wednesday, 26-24, 11-25, 25-21 and 25-22.

Head Coach Carrie Underwood was more than pleased with the team’s performance.

“The girls were more aggressive with their hitting in this match,” Underwood said.

Janice Ortman led the way with nine kills. “She really got on top of the ball and had her swing going in this match,” Underwood said. “She was also playing with more confidence.”

Ashley Griggs also turned in a superb performance with six kills, 14 service points and four aces. It was the kind of aggressive play the coach had been looking for out of Griggs.

“We have really been pushing her to be more aggressive and forceful in the front row, and she has completely stepped up her game lately,” Underwood said. “Her back row has improved as well. Her serve is consistent and she is passing very well right now.”

Haley Cruse also had a good night against Blue River finishing with 15 digs. “She completely ran our back row in this match, which was pretty tough because it was extremely hot in there by the end of the night, and we lost our focus and ended up going four games,” Underwood said. “She did a really nice job.”

Hannah Jackson led the offense with 12 assists and also had five aces against Blue River, and Crystal Heim added seven kills.

Kelsi McRoberts and Brittany Brown also helped in the front row when needed while Brianna Bourdeau, Kristen Florea, and Jodie Grant added some relief for the back row players. Brittney Horth also came in to serve late in game four, and ran off four straight points for the Panthers.

“It was a great win for the program,” Underwood said.

Thursday, the Lady Warriors of Wes-Del defeated the Panthers 11-25, 14-25 and 5-25.

“That was an extremely talented team,” Underwood said of the Warriors. “They came out with perfect passes, perfect sets, and with hitters that could flat out hit. But we also did not do our job. We had too many errors. We did not get in position to pass or to serve receive correctly.

“I thought that we were a little flat in game one and too quiet on the court. In a match like this, we have to come out hungry and fired up. I think we were just too tentative and nervous. We will just have to bounce back now and be ready for the weekend.”

Saturday, the Lady Panthers were in the Cowan Invitational and finished sixth out of eight teams with a record of 1-3.

Knightstown defeated Blue River in their opening match 25-22 and 25-20, and then lost to Lincoln 15-25 and 14-25, and to Winchester 10-25 and 24-26. In the cross-over pool, Knightstown lost to Oldenburg Academy 21-25, 25-23 and 10-25.

Crystal Heim was named to the All-Tournament team.

“We started out strong, but as the day went on, our players did not stay sharp and focused,” Underwood said. “Our passes were off their mark, our defense was not good, our hitters were not terminating. Our setters were struggling to run the offense and our servers were not consistent. Basically, we took two steps back today.

“We have to find a way to get through the hard times and find a leader out on the court. Haley (Cruse) is really starting to run the back row the way we need her to. We just need her to be a little more vocal and to do it all of the time. We are also trying to have the setters be more consistent with the placement of their sets and their defense.

“Our last match was much better,” Underwood said. “We were willing to fight for the win and the girls were putting themselves in the right positions in transition.”

In that match, Brandi Lightner finished with eight assists, seven digs, four kills and seven points.

“Her focus and effort were great in this match,” Underwood said. “She was truly giving all she had against Oldenburg. Unfortunately, after the match, we ended up sending her to the ER with an injury and she may be out for awhile. She will probably be a match-time decision on Wednesday against Mt. Vernon.”

Haley Cruse ended the match with 15 digs, and Crystal Heim added three kills and eight digs. Brittany Brown also added four kills against Oldenburg.

The Lady Panthers host always-tough Mt. Vernon tonight (Wednesday), and travel to Guerin Thursday.




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