For The Daily Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS — To call Thursday night’s volleyball match between the New Palestine Dragons and Crispus Attucks Tigers lopsided would be an understatement.
Finishing the game on a 27-2 run, the Dragons bulldozed their way into the semifinal round of Sectional 27 play beating the Tigers 25-12, 25-2, 25-2.
According to New Palestine coach Kelli Whitaker, the Dragons didn’t do anything special to attain such a one-sided victory but instead stuck to what they’ve done all season.
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“We knew that we had to take care of our side, minimize our errors and play our game,” she stated. “Which is fast-paced, make sure we’re communicating and celebrating after every point.
“We just wanted to make sure we did what we always do no matter who we’re playing.”
They did just that jumping out to big leads behind excellent serving from Katlyn Keele, Kara Morris and Mia Long. The three standouts combined for a ridiculous 19 aces with Keele and Morris each totaling seven each, and Long with five.
Long’s five aces puts her season total for aces at a team-leading 69. Morris and Keele each have 45 and 33 aces this year, respectively.
The Dragons serving was so fantastic that they only had to rotate three times in the third and final set pounding the ball in the same spots every time.
“We’ve had strong serves all year,” Whitaker remarked. “Mia and Kara just dominate back there, they’re just aggressive by nature and they continued that tonight.”
Offensively, the Dragons looked exceptional with most of their shots being unhittable to the Tiger defense. They forced Attucks into 25 errors and were firing on all cylinders throughout the night.
Sophomore Allison Dennemann led the team with 13 kills followed by Long who had seven.
Dennemann increased her kill total for the year to an outstanding 436.
“I think tonight gave our team a lot of confidence,” Whitaker said. “It feels good when you can go up and just pound the ball wherever you put it.”
With the offense coming so easily, coach Whitaker had her team focusing on ways to improve their game.
“We did have some scenarios and situations that we were trying to work on tonight,” she continued. “They had goals in mind, they weren’t just going out and doing whatever they wanted; we had focuses and strategies.”
The Dragons are keeping their focus on their first sectional title since 1989 and will look to achieve that goal this Saturday starting at 11 a.m.