ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
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Trojans too tough for Red Devils in sectional championship
October 24, 2011North Central Conference
NEW CASTLE, Ind. -- No Red Devil rally in the final. Not with a focused New Castle squad playing on its home court and eyeing the program's first sectional title since 2007.
That, coincidentally, was also the year the Trojans won the Class 4A volleyball state championship, and New Castle now has an eye turned toward another deep run in the postseason.
The Trojans halted Richmond 25-12, 25-12, 25-11 during Saturday night's Class 4A sectional title match at New Castle Fieldhouse.
An aggressive front line and steady defense led the way for the fifth-ranked Trojans in a tournament matchup between North Central Conference foes.
"We played better against them this time than we did the first time. They just have girls who are extremely knowledgeable about the game," RHS coach Anne Wissel said of the Trojans. "They just know when to score."
New Castle won the regular-season meeting 25-7, 25-13, 25-16 on Sept. 29 at Tiernan Center.
The Trojans surged out of the gate in Saturday's rematch, with Lauryn Gillis,
Laryssa Welch and Megan Millikan all providing big hits.
"We're a young team and we've been working so hard all year, that it's nice for them to continue to work toward a bigger goal," said New Castle coach Alan Davis.
There is no bigger goal than that elusive state title. The Trojans took the first step back to that stage with Saturday's victories -- they also halted Pendleton Heights 3-0 in a semifinal -- and will play host to a regional game on Tuesday.
This was sectional title No. 23 for New Castle. Richmond's last sectional championship came in 1994.
"It's a great feeling. You always have good home support at your place and you're comfortable," Davis said.
The Red Devils took an early 7-5 lead in Game 3 after two straight aces by Hannah Ball, but a repeat of the afternoon's semifinal session, when RHS erased a 2-0 deficit to down Connersville in five games, was not to be.
A tip by Taylor Patterson gave the
momentum back to the Trojans. Two kills by Skylar Stigall kept it there as New Castle improved to 29-7.
RHS ended its season 10-22, but advancing to the final provided valuable experience for a team that loses just two seniors in Maddie Farris and Brianna Mitchell.
Farris had seven kills in the final, while Ball added 12 assists. Kiana Claiborne and Brooklyn Taylor each added three kills.
"It's going to help a lot," Wissel said of making the final. "(But) it's going to be tough losing Maddie and Bri.
" ... The experience is going to be great for those younger girls. I just think the experience is going to be great for them next year."
Sports Editor Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4462 or firstname.lastname@example.org