FORT WAYNE – Going against a postseason newcomer, the defending sectional champion Blackhawk Christian volleyball team was expecting an easy time against Lakeland Christian Academy.
But the Cougars didnt oblige.
Although the Braves prevailed 3-0, they had to work for it in the Blackhawk Christian Class A Sectional opener Tuesday, 25-23, 25-3, 25-21.
They came out with a ton of heart and came out believing they were going to take the game away from us, Blackhawk Christian coach Sarah Ernst said. They did a great job for their first sectional berth here.
It was a wakeup call for us, and to remind us that it is sectional time and anything can happen.
Lakeland Christian Academy, located in Winona Lake, is in its second year as an IHSAA member.
We just came out too confident and we took for granted a team like that, Braves senior setter Allison Burch said. They came out with more heart and determination than we did.
They really wanted it, and they really wanted to take something from us.
Blackhawk Christian (24-6) will play Canterbury in the sectional semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Braves were the heavy favorites after returning their entire team from a regional championship team a year ago.
Our biggest issue in that first game and throughout was unforced errors, Ernst said. It was possibly nerves and possibly not being mentally prepared to play. It was all things we can fix.
We have the talent to go far, however its putting the talent, drive and focus all together.
The teams were tied at 23 in Game 1 before Blackhawk Christian was able to pull out the final two points.
After rolling in the second game, the Braves were in a battle again in Game 3.
Blackhawk Christian led 15-5, but LCA rallied to get within 18-12 and then rolled off seven straight points to take a 19-18 advantage.
The Braves, though, managed to win the big points down the stretch to win the deciding game.
One thing we learned from that team was the heart that they gave, and we need to take a hold of that, Braves senior Mekenzie Buhr said of LCA.
We need to learn from that and remember what it was like to be down and get back up.
For the Braves, Marta Bleed had 10 kills, Madison Byrd got seven kills and Buhr had five kills and three blocks.
Also, Summer Sordelet had 18 digs and Sara Miller added 15 digs.
NORTHROP SECTIONAL: Carroll eliminated host Northrop 25-5, 25-18, 25-18 behind Charlotte Consers 11 kills. Becca Pruden led Northrop with eight kills.
BLACKHAWK SECTIONAL: Canterbury advanced at Blackhawk.
Canterbury beat Howe 25-5, 25-12, 25-15 behind seven kills from Georgia Lee Williams and six apiece from Kelsey McDonald and Angela Collins.
Canterbury will play Blackhawk Christian (24-6) in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday.