Lafayette Jeff lost its regular-season match to McCutcheon last season only to avenge it with a first-round sweep of the Mavericks in the sectional.
McCutcheon junior Sydney Tracer remembered the match all too well and made sure 2013 was not a repeat of her sophomore season.
In the Berry Bowl Thursday night, Tracer compiled 13 kills, including 12 in the final two sets of a 25-17, 25-12, 25-20 win over the Bronchos.
“I saw the block really well, and I told Jordan (Foster) to keep feeding me the ball because I felt that I could put it away,” said Tracer, who also had 14 assists and three aces.
McCutcheon advances to Saturday morning’s Class 4A, Sectional 7 semifinals to play Logansport, which swept Kokomo Thursday night, at 11 a.m. Harrison plays Marion in the other semifinal.
For Lafayette Jeff (7-27), a season of struggles came to an end on a night where the Bronchos had seven service errors and hit just .124. The Bronchos never led at any point.
“When you are playing from behind every set, it makes life difficult,” Jeff coach Scott Graves said. “I knew that we would fight until the very last point, no matter the score. That part never concerned me. But we’ve been focusing and talking and working the last couple of weeks on minimizing our opponent’s runs.
“Almost all of those runs would be one real good hit and then us being a little out of position and us having a couple bad passes and us having a hitting error. That was kind of true tonight.”
In their final match, seniors Jessica Griggs (8), Carlie Hinkel (6) and Haley Sturgeon (4) combined for 18 of Jeff’s 22 kills. Senior Kinnsey Pass had 19 assists.
Part of Jeff’s offensive struggles can be attributed to Dailey Vanderkolk. McCutcheon’s 5-foot-10 middle hitter had three blocks and altered several other shots with her length.
“I always know I am not the tallest middle, so I have to use my long arms for my blocking skills,” Vanderkolk said.
McCutcheon was able to spread the ball around, getting kills from eight different players, including seven in the opening set. Freshman Jade Humphrey had eight kills and Katee Kurtz pounded four in the final set to finish with seven.
“I was a little off in the beginning, so once we got to the third set, I was on and I wanted them to keep setting me, so I yelled as loud as I could so I could get that ball and put them away,” Kurtz said.
Payton Taylor served four aces and pulled up 19 digs for the Mavericks (12-18), who also got 14 digs and 19 assists from Foster.