ROLLING ALONG: Madison’s Olivia Crozier (above, left), Macky Hecox (3), Whitney Wynn and Madison Porter (5) celebrate after scoring the final point to beat New Albany in four games Thursday at home. Wynn (below, 20) and teammate Emily Holland (7) provide a wall at the net against New Albany’s Audrey Donastorg (10). Madison improved to 22-3 with the win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
ROLLING ALONG: Madison’s Olivia Crozier (above, left), Macky Hecox (3), Whitney Wynn and Madison Porter (5) celebrate after scoring the final point to beat New Albany in four games Thursday at home. Wynn (below, 20) and teammate Emily Holland (7) provide a wall at the net against New Albany’s Audrey Donastorg (10). Madison improved to 22-3 with the win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison dropped Game 1 but showed why the Cubs have won 22 matches this season by roaring back to beat New Albany 3-1 in volleyball Thursday at home.

The Lady Cubs, ranked 15th in Class 3A, fell 25-17 in the opener but scored wins by scores of 25-15, 25-18 and 25-23 to close out the Bulldogs and pull within two wins of the school record.

"They believe and that's the difference between this year's team and the past three years," Madison coach Jeff Lawson said. "We knew we could win, there was the mental knowledge that we could win, but now we've gone past mental knowledge to heart knowledge. We know in our hearts we can win the game and we should win the game. We expect to win."

Madison (22-3) found itself trailing throughout most of the first game as New Albany came out determined to score the road win.

Mistakes in passing, hitting and serving, killed the Lady Cubs throughout the opener and, as a result, they found themselves trailing 7-2 early and never recovered as New Albany pulled away for the surprisingly lopsided 25-17 win.

But Madison showed no ill-effects from that loss and scored the first seven points of Game 2 behind the serving of sophomore Delany Liter and the hitting of Emily Holland and Katie Hartman.

The Cubs eventually built their lead to 13-3 and 14-4 before New Albany climbed back to within six. Madison then went on a 10-7 run to close out the 10-point win and even the match 1-1.

The key to the Game 2 blowout for Madison was passing. Good passing got hitters Holland, Hartman and Olivia Crozier in the right position to deliver big hits and the trio rained down kills from all over the floor.

"It's kind of like when Moses raised his staff, the Israelites were winning? When we're passing well, we're winning," Lawson said. "Once the passing dropped off, we're falling off. We have the guns obviously to do things. When we pass well, it just rolls."

Madison passed well in Game 3 and eventually pulled away. New Albany led 13-12 at one point but the Lady Cubs closed the game on a 13-6 run.

The Lady Cubs were well on their way to a blowout win in Game 4, leading 19-10, but had to withstand a Bulldog rally down the stretch to close out the match.

"Up 22-15 you'd like the close that out but I think we might have looked a little ahead," Lawson said. "Still, New Albany is a good team and they are a team that we've had a mental block against in recent years. It was nice to get the win.

Holland finished the match with 20 kills and five blocks while senior setter Whitney Wynn had 42 assists and 11 kills, many coming on quick tips over the net. Wynn was also 17-for-18 serving.

Liter was 21-for-23 serving and had five digs while Macky Hecox had five digs.

Madison now sets its sights on this weekend's Hoosier Hills Conference tournament at Jeffersonville where five ranked teams will take aim at the league crown.

Madison won the very first HHC title back in 1976 but hasn't won the championship since. If they are going to win the crown this year, the Lady Cubs will have to beat Class 4A No. 6 Seymour in the opener, a team they have lost to twice already.

Lawson isn't thrilled with the blind draw that determines the HHC pairings but admitted that his isn't the only team stuck in such a predicament.

"Floyd Central (ranked seventh in 4A) and Columbus East (ranked ninth) also have to play each other in the first round so there are going to be two ranked teams out in the first round," Lawson said. "The good thing is that if we get by Seymour we have a chance to go pretty far. In a lot of ways, the Seymour game is going to be our championship."

Jeffersonville faces Jennings County and Class 4A No. 16 Bedford North Lawrence takes on New Albany in other first round matches.

Lady Rebels battle back for 12th win of season

Southwestern volleyball celebrated senior night with a 3-1 Ohio River Valley Conference win over South Ripley on Thursday.

The visiting Raiders took charge early in the match to win Game 1 25-23. But Southwestern cleaned up some mistakes and took charge the rest of the evening. After claiming 25-16 and 25-17 wins in the second and third sets the Rebels dominated set four 25-9 en route to their 12th win of the season.

"We started off really poorly in the first set," Southwestern coach Chris Johnson said. "We ended up with 22 errors in the first set alone, giving South Ripley 22 of their first 25 during that set. The last three sets combined we only had 18 errors so we definitely cleaned up our play and began making better decisions."

Brittney Ralston had 10 kills on 27-for-30 hitting to lead Southwestern. Karli Long had 18 kills on 32-for-37 hitting and was 18-for-18 passing with 14 digs and three aces. Sarah Anderson added 42 assists.

"Brittney Ralston did an amazing job in the middle," Johnson said. "She has been working hard to improve her arm swing and tonight showed the result of that hard work. All of our four seniors did a great job making plays for us on senior night. Sarah Anderson, Katie Conover, Ashley Desch and Karli Long each made significant contributions to our winning effort tonight."

Southwestern (12-12, 3-2 ORVC) hosts Austin on Monday.

Shawe starts hot, cools late in 3-1 loss to Warriorettes

Shawe volleyball started off hot but cooled down in the clutch, losing 3-1 to Scottsburg at home on Thursday.

The Hilltoppers got off to a fast start, winning the first set 25-19 but lost focus in the second and third sets falling by identical 25-10 scores. Shawe came back to life in the fourth set before the Warriorettes closed out the match 25-22.

"We came out in the first game and played better than I have ever seen them play all season," Shawe coach Kelly Hill said. "Things just clicked and they really looked like a team. Not sure what happened in the second and third sets. The fourth set was closer but we still could not pull it out."

Sarah Sanders was 47-of-50 passing with seven digs and one ace. Jenna Armstrong, Shelby Greene and Claire Higgins combined for 11 kills and Amelia Koehler was 49-of-50 setting.

"We have a really bad habit of losing our confidence when we get down a few points and it is really hard to get back in the game when we hold back," Hill said.

Shawe travels to Crothersville today.