The Lincoln-Union County volleyball meeting always seems to have a lot on the line.
That won’t change this year.
Two of the top teams in Class 2A will meet tonight with the early Tri-Eastern Conference edge on the line as Class 2A No. 10 Union County plays host to Class 2A No. 6 Lincoln.
Union County improved to 9-3 with Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Richmond, while Lincoln is 10-3 after winning its TEC opener that night 3-0 over Tri.
“It’s exciting for our program and for our girls,” Lincoln coach Greg Seidner said of the team’s ranking. “I think both schools have had a high tradition of being at the top of the TEC over the years. It should be a very good match.”
Union County won last year’s meeting 25-22, 25-23, 30-32, 25-21 and went on to complete a 7-0 TEC season, while the Golden Eagles finished in a three-way tie for second place at 5-2.
The Patriots are 2-0 in the TEC and have won at least a share of the TEC title a conference-best 17 times, all in the past 21 years.
Lincoln has done so seven times, and last shared the title with Centerville in 2008. The Golden Eagles and Patriots tied atop the TEC in 2001 and Lincoln’s last outright title came in 1996. Union County has 11 sectional titles to its credit, plus five regionals and one semistate. The Patriots advanced to the semistate two years ago when current juniors Bella Pavey and Carlea Handley played key roles on the team.
“Last year, we didn’t get to go as far as we had hoped, and this year we have very high expectations,” Pavey said. “Definitely winning regionals again, because regionals would be here at our home gym, just like it was my freshman year. … And hopefully advancing to state. That’s our main goal, and I think that with the right coaching and determination and good practice we could definitely do that this year.”
Lincoln has three sectional titles, its most recent in 2006.
Handley and Allison Kassens led the Patriots with 14 kills and four aces apiece, while Ella Dils had 12 kills and three aces Tuesday. Kassens also led the team with 16 digs, Handley had nine, Bailey Jenkins six and Lauren Lester five.
Kiersten Merida had 30 assists, five kills and three aces for the Golden Eagles, while Tayler Pennington added 22 service points and 10 digs.
“We’ve come out the last couple games with a little more intensity and a little more drive, and we’re kind of finding our rhythm a little bit better,” Union County coach Chris Wiederhold said. “Hopefully we just build on this and keep moving forward.”
Union is also ranked ninth in Class A.
Richmond’s soccer teams will soon be back at Lyboult Field for a Saturday North Central Conference doubleheader.
The Red Devil boys team faces Marion at 4 p.m., followed by the RHS-Marion girls game at 6 p.m.
Both Richmond soccer teams are currently 1-0 in NCC play with wins over Kokomo.
“Marion’s always tough,” said RHS girls soccer coach Eric Wilson. “They are always going to bring a little energy to the game. They’ve been very successful at the top of the NCC for quite a few years.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for us. It’s going to be a good test for us, and hopefully we’re up for the challenge.”
Both Richmond teams are coming off victories Tuesday night over Union County, also at Lyboult.
The Red Devil boys (7-2) won 4-0, with the girls (5-2-3) winning 7-0.
“It’s coming together,” Wilson said. ” … It’s nice to see a couple of victories here.”