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Ladybirds advance to sectional semifinals

By B.J. Hargis
Photo by B.J. HARGIS: North Central's Desi Norman, 9, set the volleyball up for Zoe Lowrance during the volleyball sectional at Clay City on Thursday. Watching is Brinley Stone, 10.

CLAY CITY — North Central did not earn any style points on Thursday night at the Class A Clay City volleyball sectional, but did earn a 25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-16 victory over Eminence in a first-round match.
“This was ugly,” said North Central coach Heather McCoskey. “We did not move well and struggled with communication.
“But you have to give the girls credit, they found a way to get it done. When it comes to the sectional, any win is a good win.”
After defeating the Lady Eels in four sets during their regular-season meeting, McCoskey said her kids thought it was going to be a cakewalk.
“I don’t think our kids were really focused and ready to play,” said McCoskey. “I believe they thought it was going to be easy and it wasn’t.
“All of the sets were close until we used our serving to pull away in the fourth set.”
The Ladybirds only missed four serves in 97 attempts (96 percent). They made 49 of 50, including 25 of 25 in the deciding set, after Eminence won the second set, tying the match.
“We did a much better job of serving than we have lately,” said McCoskey. “We ended up with several aces.”
Mia McCoskey made seven serves in a row, including four aces, as North Central jumped out to a 7-1 advantage in the fourth set.
Stone made three in a row as the lead reached 10-2 and then connected on four straight as the Ladybirds advanced to the semifinals on Saturday.
Her assist set up a kill by Zoe Lawrence on match point.
“At a time out, I told the girls we needed three more aces in a row,” said coach McCoskey. “It did not happen as we got one more point.
“But the girls were very aggressive serving. That proved to be the difference in us winning and losing.”
Eminence dropped to 1-12 in its season finale.
The Ladybirds will face Bloomfield at 11 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal. The Lady Cardinals defeated NC at Farmersburg during their Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference match.
“It is going to be a lot tougher on Saturday,” said McCoskey. “We won’t have the luxury of not being ready to play at the beginning.
“We changed our rotations tonight. We are not messing around. Bloomfield will be a tough test for us, but I expect us to be ready to play.”

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