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Volleyball: Young Senators fall in Class 1A regional

Updated: November 25, 2012 11:50AM



ROYAL CENTER — Washington Township went down fighting in its Class 1A regional matchup at Pioneer on Tuesday evening, but fell 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-21).

The Senators struggled to keep up with the taller, more experienced Panthers in the first two games, having difficulty contending with a much more dominating, all-senior front line.

Washinton was often one-and-out serving for first-year coach Kevin Labaj, who led his young team ­­— with two seniors, Lindsey Henry and Ashley Hines — to a 22-11 record.

“The first and second games we battled nerves and butterflies,” he said. “This team has won five straight sectionals, there’s no reason to be upset with them, they’ve been great. I got everything I expected out of them.”

The Senators may have had trouble in the first two games, but they came back and played even-up on the 25-9 Panthers in the final game, pushing to 9-8, and then 24-21, before Pioneer got its final score.

Henry, who played virtually the entire match and connected on 4 of 6 kills, said, “I feel we accomplished so much. The friendship on this team was indescribable.

“With a new coach, going in I was a little nervous,” she said. “I will never forget this season, it was probably the best season (of my career).”

“Ashley has been my opposite hitter for four years,” Henry said of her classmate, Hines, who she went through four sectional championship seasons with. “We just clicked, we played in clubs together in the summer, she had my back. She’s my best friend, too.”

Juniors Madeline Johnson and Sam Higgins had five and six kills, respectively, while classmate Emily Holcomb had two aces and five digs; junior Corie O’Connor led the team with five digs, and junior Caitlyn Lembke handed out 21 assists on 64 sets.

Marquette advances: In the other local Class 1A regional, Marquette won its first regional title since 2009, defeating Fort Wayne Blackhawk in four games (25-19, 25-16, 16-25, 25-23).



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