NEW CASTLE — It was a daunting task for the Anderson volleyball team Thursday night as it went up against Yorktown in the Class 4A New Castle sectional. Yorktown came into the match as the Class 3A runner-up from last year and won the title in 2011.
The Tigers were moved up to 4A this year as part of the “success factor” rule in the IHSAA. The Tigers were sporting a 28-2 record for the season, with their only losses to Delta and New Castle.
Anderson put up a fight, but the Tigers were too much in the 3-0 (25-7, 25-5 and 25-11) victory.
“The draw was just lovely to us,” said smiling Anderson coach Lesli Randall. “They (Yorktown) got into our sectional this year, and we’ve drawn New Castle the last two years. We thought, ‘What are the odds of us getting Yorktown?’ and we did.”
Yorktown started off on serve and got down to business in a hurry. Senior Taylor Zwickl served the first five points as the Tigers got out to a 5-0 lead. Yorktown built a 10-2 lead before Randall called a time out. The Tigers pushed the lead to 20-4 behind eight kills and six aces.
Anderson fought back to a 23-7 deficit, but two straight kills by Karli Acree and Nicole Phillips ended the set 25-7 in favor of Yorktown.
Set 2 started much the same way as Set 1 as Yorktown got out to a 10-2 lead. After an Anderson time out, the Tigers scored four more points to lead 14-2. It was a dominating performance as Yorktown scored several kills mixed in with a few aces to overpower Anderson 25-5.
“It’s not an excuse, but half of our team had the flu this week,” Randall said. “So I think that’s why the first couple of games were a little slow.”
Whether it was a case of nerves or being slowed by illness, the ill effects lifted as Set 3 got underway. Anderson scored the first three points to take the lead for the first time, starting with a point for senior Grace Reis. Yorktown tied the set at 3-3, but Anderson scored three straight go back in front.
Enthusiasm was abundant on the sideline for Anderson, and it was carrying over to the play on the court. Tristen Pettigrew scored a kill to give Anderson a 9-8 lead, but it was the final time the Lady Tribe led.
Yorktown went on a 14-0 run to take a 22-9 lead before a Kyleigh Brumley return found the net.
“We just had a little stall on the serve receive, and it killed our momentum,” Randall said. “It let them click back into their set routine, and we never got back in the flow.”
Anderson scored its final point on an error by Halle McKibben to make it 23-11. Acree ended the set at 25-11 with a kill to give Yorktown the victory and end Anderson’s season.
Yorktown advances to play the winner of Greenfield-Central-Richmond, which was the second match on the docket Thursday night at New Castle. The semifinal match will follow Pendleton Heights and New Castle, which is set to tip at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Anderson finishes the season with five wins and will graduate seven seniors. Randall, in her fourth year at Anderson, coached this senior class from their freshmen year.
“This class has been with me for four years,” Randall said. “I’ve seen them grow as a group. They pushed and improved as sophomores, as juniors they pushed the six seniors. This group of seven, they’re fighters. They will push and strive the whole time, they will never give up.”
The class includes Donjanae Chamberlin, Christy Couch, Hannah Achenbach, Katlyn Keppler, Tristen Pettigrew, Da’sha Boyd and Grace Reis.