Volleyball Season Come To End With Loss To Tipton In Sectional Final

Posted on October 14, 2018 in Fall Sports, Volleyball

By CHUCK LANDIS – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com
KOKOMO — One volley shouldn’t have made a difference in a match that had nearly 200 of them. But it did.

The epic volley occurred early in the second set Saturday evening after Oak Hill had a game in hand against Tipton in the Class 2A Sectional 39 final at Taylor High School. It lasted for what seemed like an eternity but actually several minutes with both sides repelling haymakers from the other and had the crowd roaring their approval.

Finally, Tipton’s Chloe Moore delivered a kill shot through Oak Hill’s block and gave the Blue Devils a 9-7 lead, but more important the momentum to pull out a four-set victory over the Golden Eagles. Tipton pulled out its first ever sectional title, 24-26, 25-16, 28-26 and 25-19.

“I was thinking that the entire time, the momentum’s going to go to whoever wins this volley,” Oak Hill coach Kristi Carmichael said. “Gosh, no one gave up on it, and it was like that the whole match. Just a hard-fought game, and every point was a fight.”

Oak Hill had sought its 12th title and first since 2008 but had the season end with a 22-10 record. The Eagles advanced earlier Saturday with a 3-0 sweep of host Taylor (25-12, 25-17 and 25-9) in the semifinals.

Tipton, which improved to 25-12 and advances to the regional round, also had a four-set battle in the semifinals with Eastbrook before eliminating the Panthers (25-17, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-18). The Panthers concluded a 14-11 season.

Blue Devils coach Missy Henry also recognized value in winning the long volley and it carried her team through rough stretches for the rest of the match.

“Big momentum turn, very much so,” Henry said. “I’m really proud of them for sticking it out, and they just dug in.

“I knew we had the potential from last year, and if we were going to do something this would be this year,” she added. “They bought in and played with heart and guts and believed in themselves.”

Even after that volley, it remained a tight set and was tied at 13-all when Tipton’s talented sophomore setter Carly Ripberger stepped up to serve. Ripberger’s service fueled an 8-0 run and the Blue Devils broke it open at 21-13 and then closed out the second set.

Ripberger had also served eight straight points in the first set when the Blue Devils overcame a 19-12 deficit and took a brief 20-19 lead. With the set tied 24-all, Ashlyn Transier delivered a kill shot and the set ended with Tipton hitting the ball into the net.

Besides her service, Ripberger controlled the match with her setting that put gave Tipton attackers Moore and Cassidy Crawford excellent hitting opportunities, and her serve-reception continually kept balls in play.

“She’s just a sophomore and she runs the offense very well for us,” Henry said of Ripberger. “She’s a total player and I’m proud of her. She’s worked very hard to get where she is, but we’re really a total team.”

Oak Hill nearly turned around the momentum of the match in the third set, opening up a 19-14 lead, but Carmichael said the Eagles ran into problems closing out the match. Yet, they had set point three times at 24, 25 and 26.

But the set in the Blue Devils’ favor after Lauren Shively and Rachael Ressler combined for a block, and the winning point came when Kelsey Mitchell’s serve hit the net and trickled over for an ace.

“The third game I ran out of subs and I was not playing a normal rotation,” Carmichael said. “We didn’t have any timeouts and didn’t have any subs so we were in a bad spot.

“But I still think they played hard especially under those circumstances,” she added. “It still could have gone either way … We needed to finish in those tight spots, but that’s the way it goes.”

Transier finished with 19 kills and a block in her final match and Taylor Westgate had 15 kills and three blocks. Lexi Carmichael and Ella Ridgeway each had 18 assists, and Ridgeway also contributed two aces. Brittany McCorkle had 30 digs.

“They played amazing and I couldn’t ask for more effort out of them,” Carmichael said. “There was a few plays where we made mistakes and that’s going to happen, especially in a high stakes game like this. I told them we’ve been down before and don’t ever count yourselves out and they kept pushing away. Tipton’s a very talented team.”

Crawford, a candidate for the Indiana All-Stars girls’ basketball team, also displayed prowess in volleyball and led the Blue Devils with 19 kills, followed by Moore with 15 and Shiveley with seven.

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