• Avon’s perfect season comes up short in State Final

    November 07, 2011 No comments

    Heading into the Class 4A volleyball state final Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Avon Orioles carried a perfect season record (39-0) and a No. 3 national ranking.

    Unfortunately, those accolades mattered little to the defending state champion and No. 2-ranked Penn Kingsmen, whose workmanlike effort put an end to the Orioles’ perfect season with a 3-1 (16-25, 25-17, 13-25, 18-25) win at Ball State University’s Worthen Arena.

    Penn (39-1) and Avon (39-1) battled through an exciting first set that featured nine ties and five lead changes.

    Avon’s Rebekah Strange brought the Orioles back from a 7-11 deficit and into a 13-11 lead with a great service. But the Kingsmen rallied behind Purdue-recruit Annie Drews’ four kills in the last seven points of the match to take the set.

    The resiliency Avon showed all season when dropping a set or being put in a pressure situation was on display in Game 2 as the Orioles never trailed.

    Strange again rattled off six consecutive points to put Avon ahead 13-5. Penn closed the lead to 17-10, but Avon continued to press ahead as Emily Graves took to the center of the net on quick sets for three kills, putting Avon up by 10. Katie Higginbotham and Beth Prince finished off the Kingsmen with consecutive kills to even up the match.

    Penn responded with an impressive third set and Avon helped the Kingsmen out early with some uncharacteristic miscues.

    Two out of bounds serves coupled with a miscommunication error, along with not getting the ball over the net allowed Penn an 11-7 advantage they never relinquished.

    The fourth set looked a lot like the first as the teams battled through eight ties and four lead changes.

    Tied at 14-14, Penn’s Kaitlyn Hickey served an ace that the Kingsmen followed up with a block to take a two-point lead.

    Avon again battled to a 16-16 tie, but miscues doomed the Orioles as two net violations led to a 19-17 Penn lead.

    The Kingsmen never looked back and went on a 7-1 run to end the game, match and Avon’s perfect season.

    The one-two punch of Drews and Hickey were a large part of Penn’s success.

    Hickey finished the night with 18 kills and led Penn with 22 points. The 6-foot-5 Drews recorded 11 kills.

    Avon was led offensively by Graves, Higginbotham and Beth Prince with nine kills each. Madison Reeves tallied 21 assists and Bexell finished with 14 digs. Prince and Higginbotham each had 10.5 points to lead the Orioles.

    Avon graduates seven seniors and has just two juniors — Graves and Kayla Springer — on its squad of 16 players, leaving seven underclassmen with a wealth of experience to build upon.

    For more details, check out today’s Hendricks County Flyer

    Posted by in Avon, Local Sports

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