ELWOOD — It didn't take the Elwood volleyball team long Tuesday night to separate itself from Taylor in the first round of the Class 2A sectional at Alexandria.
The Panthers (18-19) used big runs early in each set to fuel a 25-10, 25-4, 25-8 victory and set up a fourth matchup Saturday against sixth-ranked Madison-Grant.
"We had a discussion about that yesterday," Elwood coach Reva Short said of the possibility of meeting the Argylls yet again this season. "Actually, I didn't bring it up. A couple of the seniors did. They said, 'If we're gonna be over there Saturday, let's make it worth it and let's win.' Maybe the gears are starting to turn there."
The Panthers played Madison-Grant twice in the Madison County tournament and then again during the regular season as Central Indiana Conference rivals. The Argylls won all three meetings, but Elwood improved in each match.
On Tuesday's sectional opener, the Panthers' toughest opponent was the enemy within.
Taylor simply did not have the talent to match up with Elwood, and the Panthers had to fight to maintain their focus and get something worthwhile out of the contest.
Elwood sprinted to a 7-1 lead in the first set before a brief run by the Titans cut the deficit to 8-4. The Panthers answered with nine straight points off the serve of Katelyn Leisure and never looked back.
Service aces played a big role in the match. Taylor Noone led Elwood with eight, and Leisure nearly matched her with six. The Panthers racked up 19 aces overall as a team.
Short said she constantly was reminding her players not to change their style of play.
"You still have to do everything as quick as you normally do it," she said. "You still have to do all the little things you normally do in practice or in a game."