It’s hard to predict how a young team is going to respond to tournament pressure. Terre Haute South freshmen Natalie Scamihorn and Caitlyn Newton handled the opening match of the IHSAA Class 4A volleyball sectional at Brownsburg just fine.
Scamihorn passed out 34 assists and Newton hammered down 13 kills, leading the Braves to a 3-0 win over Mooresville.
Tournament play resumes Thursday with Terre Haute North taking on Plainfield at 6 p.m., followed by Martinsville vs. Avon at 7:30.
The Tuesday win puts the 17-17 Braves in the 11 a.m. Saturday semifinal match against tournament host Brownsburg.
South won the first game 25-19, survived a Mooresville rally to win the second game 26-24 and used an early lead to win game three 25-17.
Interim South coach Stephanie Millington was happy to get the victory with a starting lineup that included the two freshmen, sophomore Meaghan Etling, junior Allison Kittell, along with seniors Bailee Williams, Kaitlynn Gilmore and Marissa Coutinho.
“I think tonight was good to get our nerves out. We’re a young team. As much as I have been trying to say [we’re not a young team], we really are. For a lot of them, this is their first sectional tournament ever,” Millington said.
South took advantage of Mooresville errors to open game one 4-1. But the Pioneers rallied to tie the score 6-6. The score was knotted last at 16-16.
A Newton kill put the Braves up 19-17 and the Pioneers followed with four straight errors. South’s Williams ended the game with a kill.
South again got off to fast start, taking a 5-1 lead with kills by Newton, Meaghan Etling, Williams and Allison Kittell. The Braves’ lead hit 18-11 on a Kittell kill.
Then the Braves’ lack of tournament experience showed up. South made errors receiving, passing and hitting. Mooresville cut South’s lead to 22-19, then 22-21.
“That’s something we need to work through. Finding a way to get sideouts and letting the team score our points. We need to score our own points,” Millington said.
The score was tied at 23-23 when Coutinho delivered a cross-court kill. Mooresville tied the score 24-24 with a kill in the back corner. A sideout gave the Braves a 25-24 edge. South’s Etling ended the match with a block.
South built an 8-1 lead in game three, extended it to 12-4 when Maddie Callahan and Etling doubled blocked a Mooresville hitter and went to the 25-17 win. Callahan put down a cross-court kill to end the match.
In addition to the 13 kills, South’s Newton had 14 digs.
“[Newton] had a double-double, that was great. Get her nerves [out of the way] and get our underclassmen ready to go on Saturday,” Millington said.
As for Brownsburg’s Bulldogs, Millington said the Braves have little information.
“We don’t know a lot about them. We’ll just think about our side of the net and controlling the things we can control,” Millington said.
Mooresville 19 24 17
Terre Haute South 25 26 25
Highlights — For South, Caitlyn Newton had a double-double of 13 kills and 14 digs, Natalie Scamihorn passed out 34 assists, Marissa Coutinho had 17 digs, Maddie Callahan hammered 9 kills and Bailee Williams had 8 kills.
Next — South (17-17) will play Brownsburg at 11 a.m. Saturday at Brownsburg.