Cardinals overcome Union City to sweep title
LEWISVILLE, Ind. - After losing four seniors to graduation, the Seton Catholic volleyball team wasn’t sure what to expect coming into the 2016 season.
On top of that, the Cardinals lost one of their most experienced starters early in the season when middle hitter senior Erin Barrett went down.
Plus Saturday night, Union City came out on a mission, taking a large lead in the second set of the IHSAA Class A Sectional 56 championship match at Tri High School.
But the Cardinals were determined, as they have been all season, and they rallied, completing a 3-0 sweep over the Indians for a third straight sectional championship.
“I did not want to go to a third set after watching them,” Seton Catholic coach Jennifer Martin said. “I told my girls, like any sport, once you get a little momentum everyone starts playing like an all-star. They started playing great in that second set, we were flat, we started looking for somebody to pick it up, Sarah (Dickman) got a really nice kill and got us going.”
Seton swept Union City 25-13, 25-22, 25-10, winning their third straight sectional title. They host Daleville in Tuesday’s regional title.
“It means a lot,” said Kelsey Martin, one of Seton’s three seniors. “We were always told we weren’t going to win it this year because we lost so many of our key players. I just feel like we’re proving ourselves, that we can do it.”
As the score indicates, the Indians made Seton work in the middle set.
Union City broke out with an 18-11 lead, before the Cardinals rallied to tie at 21 and take the lead.
“We came in wanting it really badly, they were pumped and ready to play, but mentally they just shut down and when that happens, it was hard to overcome,” Union City coach Nancy Whitted said.
The momentum carried over and the Cardinals put the set away in three.
“It was really scary at first, we kind of started to get his feeling that we weren’t going to win in three, but then we pulled it together, we got our heads on track and we got it done,” Kelsey Martin added.
Barrett got a special ovation when she was brought in to serve the potential match-clinching point.
Barrett got injured early in the season and served a few aces on Senior Night.
She transferred over from Richmond before her junior year and helped Seton win the first regional title in school history last season.
“I just knew after that Hagerstown game that I couldn’t be for them on the court, and it’s still a team sport and I thought I could still cheer them on from the bench and give them my support,” she said.
Sarah Dickman had 13 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and two aces, while senior Maggie Westjohn also had 13 kills and Rita Deitz added seven.
Martin had 11 digs and two aces and junior Abbey Schmidt had 11 digs, plus three kills and three blocks, and 29 assists to add to her school record.
Deitz also had three blocks and Taylor Haager had eight digs.
“We just had a mentality that we wanted to win and we had to regroup and figure things out,” said Westjohn, who had to become more versatile to help Seton overcome the loss of Barrett.
“… It was really hard to be put in the middle, especially emotionally, because I was used to the outside, but I did my best and then Paige (Klaine) stepped up and I’m really proud of her and all of us that we were able to step through.”
Seton improves to 22-12.
Union City finished the season with eight wins and 19 losses.
The Indians had just one win two years ago and five last year, in Whitted’s first year with the program.
Maci Beam had seven kills and 12 during the semifinal victory over Randolph Southern.
Jazmin Kelsey had four kills against Seton and five against Southern, while Emily Cline and Peyton Dean each had five digs in the title match.