Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:50 pm
Carroll volleyball wins 11th straight sectional title
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
Winning sectional championships is just routine for Carroll at this point.
The Chargers' volleyball team had won sectional titles 10 years in a row entering Saturday night's championship match against Northrop and made it 11 straight with a three-set victory – 25-10, 25-23, 25-12 – in a Class 4A match at North Side.
Kaley Matney and Hadley Powers led the way with eight kills, while Drezdan Ginder racked up seven aces, including four in the clinching third set.
"It's so exciting, it's so fun to carry on the tradition that was set decades ago," said Carroll senior Megan Driver, who finished with four kills and three blocks. "I want to relive the 2015 team that was able to go state, it's just a really big honor to be (a part of) Carroll volleyball."
The Chargers (20-13) cruised through the first set, scoring the final eight points behind a pair of kills each from Powers and Taya Haffner. Haffner finished with a team-best 27 assists.
It looked as though Carroll would move through the second set just as easily, but with the Chargers ahead 16-8, Northrop (14-17) put up a fight. The Bruins closed the gap quickly and a kill from junior Madison Brooks knotted the score at 23. Brooks led the Bruins with six kills unofficially and added an ace.
In a tense moment for her team, coach Pandy Sinish calmed the Chargers down.
"I just told them, 'We have to play us,'" Sinish said. "Right now, we're kind of trying to catch back up with them, but as long as we're controlling the ball on our side of the court, it shouldn't matter what they're doing.
"These girls have been so battle-tested this year, through a lot of adversity, a lot of challenging matches. I think they were able to just mentally reset in that moment to come back out on top."
The reset was evident on the court as Carroll re-took the lead on a kill from Estella Faith and won the set with one of Ginder's many huge aces.
"I just knew that the game needed to be over quickly," Ginder said of that final second-set point. "The best way to do that is put an aggressive ball in bounds and that's what I did and it worked."
Ginder carried that momentum into the third set, when she piled up four aces, including a pair during an eight-point run to end the match. Sinish said the senior was "in a zone" and the movement on her serves was making returns difficult for Northrop.
For her part, Ginder spread the credit around.
"It's nice to know that we have such a great defense and offense to back that up," she said. "You can't have great serves unless you trust your hitters to do their job. ... It was just a good night."
The Chargers move on to regionals, where they have not won a championship since reaching the state finals in 2015, the last of six straight regional titles. They'll travel to Noblesville next Saturday must get past McCutcheon, which enters the regional 31-1, in order to capture the championship.
Carroll advanced to the sectional championship game with a 3-0 win over East Noble, 25-20, 25-21, 25-10, earlier in the day Saturday, while Northrop got there by beating DeKalb 25-22, 25-11, 25-18.