Senior staff writer
Center Grove and Roncalli earned volleyball sectional championships Saturday in rematches against rivals, while Lutheran won the Morristown sectional against Greenwood Christian Academy. After 3-2 and 3-0 regular-season wins against Franklin, No. 5 Center Grove won the Greenwood sectional by sweeping the Grizzly Cubs 25-16, 25-13, 25-22.
No. 9 Roncalli continued its mastery for the third time against Perry Meridian, 25-18, 25-22, 25-17, at Ben Davis. At Morristown, Lutheran handled GCA 25-14, 26-24, 25-12. At Greenwood, Center Grove showed its quality depth against No. 15 Franklin. Junior middle hitter Jamie Brown led with 14 kills and three blocks, and Anna Line added nine kills and four blocks.
Junior MJ Hammill enjoyed 37 assists and 10 digs. Ashley Eck had 23 digs. The Grizzly Cubs led 21-19 in the third set, but CG’s power prevailed with a 6-1 run for the trophy.
“We played really good volleyball in the first two sets,” first-year CG coach Chris Due said. “We minimized our errors, made defensive plays and our back row stepped up. We got our middle hitters involved and they did a good job of eatin’ them up.”
The Trojans (28-6) face No. 2 Providence at the 4A Bloomington North regional at a.m. Saturday with the winner facing Castle or Bloomington South in the championship at 7:30 p.m. At Ben Davis, Perry Meridian jumped to a 4-0 lead and then Roncalli senior Grace Hegwood took over by scoring six of the next eight points. The Falcons rallied with six straight points late in the second set before falling 25-22.
The Rebels sealed the match with a 7-0 run for a 23-14 lead in the third set. Hegwood had 17 kills, and sophomore Miranda Wilson had nine. PM’s Caitie Baird, a U18 USA gold medal team member, had 14 kills with GraceAnn Hartman adding five kills and four blocks.
“This one turned out the way we expected,” Hegwood said. “We wanted to focus on our side of play, limit our errors and put the ball where they weren’t. We had to relax and play our game.”
The Rebels (28-6) reached the final match by defeating Pike in the opener and Southport earlier Saturday.
“Give them (Perry Meridian) credit because they put in a lot of effort to keep us from our normal game,” Roncalli coach Missy Marsh said. “We had to change our game plan and attack them in a different way.
Our seniors stepped up; we needed them to swing and score when we needed.”
The Rebels meet rival Cathedral at 10 a.m. Saturday at Greenfield with the title match at 7:20 p.m. against the No. 3 Avon/Greenfield winner. At Morristown, Lutheran swept Providence Cristo Rey in the regional opener and then subdued GCA.
“Each player in there came up with whatever we needed – an outside hit, a great dig, a great block or a run of serves,” Saints coach Kathy Anderson said.
“Different players stepped up at different times and that made it hard for GCA to come back. It (championship) was a real team victory.”
The Saints meet University at noon Saturday after the opener between Bloomfield and Hauser with the winners meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Morristown regional. Senior outside hitter Rylee Morris (232 kills, 215 digs, 30 blocks) and sophomore Dara Milivojak (341 kills, 328 digs, 48 aces) led the Saints. Up front they are set up by junior Chloe Andre, 714 assists. Senior Hannah Mielke has added 200 digs from the back row. Freshman Jaelah Chenalt is a young threat too.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” Anderson said. “These girls are closer and tighter than they were two weeks ago. They are playing for each other and that increases their chance for success.”
Southport, Greenwood, Manual, Beech Grove and Franklin Central were defeated in their opening sectional matches.