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COLUMBUS, Ind. – Visiting Bloomington South used a huge fourth-set surge Saturday evening (Oct. 14) to close out a 3-1 victory over Columbus North for the championship of the Class 4A volleyball sectional in Memorial Gym.
The host Bull Dogs looked like they might be able to extend the match to five sets when they led 12-8 in the fourth, but the Panthers responded to a timeout by coach Eugene Kim by reeling off a 17-3 burst and taking the 25-10, 23-25, 25-17, 25-15 decision.
The sectional title is the 14th in program history for Bloomington South but its first since 1996 and the final season of non-class competition.
The Panthers improved to 23-12 with the result and moved into the Seymour Regional at 10 a.m. Saturday (Oct. 21) against Providence (35-1). Center Grove (31-5) and Castle (29-6) will meet in the second semifinal. The regional final will be at 7 p.m. next Saturday (Oct. 21).
Columbus North, which closed its season with a 15-16 record, dropped the first set as Bloomington South opened sharply. However, the Bull Dogs took advantage of a number of Panthers’ net violations in the second set to pull out a two-point win.
Bloomington South bounced back for a quick lead in the third set and coasted to regain the upper hand. In the final set, the Bull Dogs used a 5-1 surge to break a 7-7 tie when Kim called timeout. From that point, the Panthers outscored the hosts 11-2 and ultimately 17-3 to claim the decisive set.
Junior Agustina Fainguersch, senior Katie McAninch and sophomore Gabby Genth each totaled four kills to lead Columbus North against the Panthers. Junior Lily Meyercord tallied 20 assists and eight digs, while junior Maddy Sebahar produced 31 digs and one ace. Fainguersch added 20 digs and two blocks, while sophomore Emma Tynan had three kills, nine digs and two blocks.
Junior Lucy Anderson pounded a match-high 12 kills while sophomore Olivia Blacketter tallied 11 kills for Bloomington South. Senior Sydney Conger added nine kills, three aces and 12 digs, while freshman Kenadee Coyle came up with eight kills and senior Grace Bland had 20 digs. Senior Ashley Elliott and freshman Bailey DeMier combined for 46 assists, Elliott adding five aces and DeMier providing 15 digs.
Earlier, Columbus North defeated Columbus East 3-0 in the second semifinal. The Bull Dogs posted a 25-19, 25-20, 25-18 decision to qualify for the final.
Fainguerch paced the Bull Dogs with 11 kills, two blocks and 15 digs as CN topped the Olympians for the first time since 2002 on the floor. Tynan, McAninch and junior Lauryn James each chipped in six kills, while Genth had five kills. Meyercord provided 21 assists and one ace, while Sebahar totaled 30 digs and one ace. Tynan also tallied two blocks and 15 digs, while sophomore Carley Finke had 14 digs.
Junior Rilee Jessee led Columbus East (10-23) with eight kills. Senior C.J. Clausen produced seven kills and four blocks, while sophomore Allison Mack notched six kills and 16 digs. Senior Kendal Williams tallied 20 assists and 15 digs, and junior Emily Bannister had 13 digs.
In the opening semifinal, Bloomington South advanced with a 25-20, 25-13, 20-25, 25-12 victory over East Central in the first semifinal. The Trojans ended their season at 31-4.
Columbus North was seeking its first sectional championship in the 46 years that the IHSAA has staged a volleyball tournament series.