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Harrison volleyball prevails in sectional final

October 21, 2012
Harrison ( West Lafayette ) High School

Kassandra Williams was a role player for Harrison’s volleyball team as a freshman.

She saw the heartbreak on the seniors’ faces when the Raiders lost to McCutcheon in the sectional last year.

The sophomore middle hitter was determined not to let this year’s six-player senior class leave with that same empty feeling.

On Saturday night, Williams came up big with 16 kills and two solo blocks, leading the Raiders to a 27-25, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 victory over Logansport in the Class 4A, Sectional 7 championship at McCutcheon’s Resler Gymnasium.

“I always feel confident setting Kassandra,” said Harrison setter Kayla Ostrom, who served six aces. “Even if we don’t connect, I feel good about the next play. I tell her, ‘We’ll get the next one.’ When I get her going, she’s going.”

The Raiders (21-11) advance to play at No. 2 Carmel in Tuesday’s regional. The Greyhounds swept fifth-ranked Westfield to win the Hamilton Southeastern Sectional.

Harrison trailed 20-14 in Game 4 when Ostrom relied on Williams’ right arm to rally the Raiders. Williams had kills on three of the next four points, closing the gap to 20-18. Brynn Roy got the Raiders within one with a smash of her own and Ostrom’s ace gave Harrison its first lead of Game 4 at 22-21.

“I said, ‘I am taking control of this game,’ ” Ostrom said. “I feel most confident when it is just me with the serve. I can place it wherever I want. … There was a hitter who was passing back there and I wanted to mess with her. I wanted to get those points.”

Ashley Francis and Roy combined to stuff Logansport’s Sydney Bullard on match point, securing a sectional crown.

“This feels amazing.” Williams said. “Last year, we can forget about it. This year, we just keep moving forward and keep getting better.”

Harrison’s fifth sectional title in six years, and the first with Lindsay Charles as head coach, wasn’t flawless. The Berries felt they evenly matched the Raiders.

Logansport led 25-24 in Game 1, but kills by senior Savannah Rider and Williams sandwiched a double-hit call on the Berries to give the Raiders the last three points.

“Harrison is a good ball team. It’s a good coach, a good program, and we’re right there,” Logansport coach Jon Vernon said. “If that first game would have went our way, it’s a different story.”

Kayla Ostrom spread her 48 assists among five different hitters, including Rider, who had a big night.

Rider finished with nine kills, four of those in the back-and-forth first set.

“It was a bummer (not winning the sectional) last year,” Rider said. “We were so used to it and we thought we were going to win it, but it wasn’t the right year for it. It made this year 10 times better.”

Contributing to the championship effort, Ashlyn Dunwoody put down seven kills, Francis added six, Hayley Sinnott pulled up eight digs and Shannon Garner had five digs.

The Raiders swept Marion in the morning semifinals 25-12, 25-10, 25-13.

Logansport reached the championship by defeating Lafayette Jeff 25-15, 26-24, 25-23. Senior Kate Halliwell had a double-double in her final match with the Bronchos (18-17), collecting 11 kills and 10 digs. Auna McGaughey had nine kills and nine digs and Megan Isbell had eight of each. Connor Garrity served three aces.

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