COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Floyd Central volleyball team got off to a sluggish start and No. 4-ranked Indianapolis Cathedral powered its way to a straight-set win, beating the Highlanders 25-15, 25-18, 25-17 in the semifinals of the Class 4A semi-state at Columbus East.
The Irish (29-4), defending national champions, blitzed the Highlanders (24-14) in the early going and got out to a 15-4 lead in the first set.
“We were never in it, and it shocked me because we’ve competed all year against that caliber of competition,” said Floyd Central coach Bart Powell. “It was just not our day.”
Powell said the Highlanders sometimes have a mental block against Cathedral. “Since I’ve been at Floyd Central, I’m 3-6 against Cathedral. It’s not like we’ve never beaten them.”
Powell said the Highlanders had offensive issues against Cathedral’s triple block in the middle.
“That’s the biggest triple block we’ve faced all year,” Powell said. “They had us scouted well. They knew where the ball went.”
Powell said the Highlanders were a bit shorthanded after the ankle injury to Cassie Thomerson, a 6-foot sophomore. Floyd Central couldn’t muster much against All-American Nia Robinson, a Northwestern signee and one of five NCAA Division I recruits for Cathedral, who led the Irish with 19 kills. Mattison Norris, a DePaul target, added nine kills for the Irish.
Taylor Hodges, a junior, led the Highlanders with eight kills and 18 digs. Alexis Smith, also a junior, had seven kills. Kamryn Plaiss added 20 digs and Sara Sans handed out 23 assists.
As he looks back on the season, Powell said the Highlanders improved throughout the campaign.
“We lost seven seniors last year,” he said. “For us to lose that and come back and do what we did, it’s absolutely incredible. This team had a great work ethic. They bonded. They all got along.
“Our chemistry was fabulous all year. For us to go undefeated in really, really good conference and beat New Albany in the sectional. We came a long way. We weren’t very good at the beginning of the season.”