The Altamont Lady Indians defeated the Lady Hatchets of Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg at the IHSA Class 1A Windsor Sectional championship Wednesday 25-16, 25-12 to advance to the Bridgeport (Red Hill) Super-sectional Friday.
“It’s awesome and it feels great,” said Altamont head coach Scott Klingler. “I was pretty nervous coming into it. You beat someone earlier in the season, but Taylor Mette said at practice yesterday ‘we didn’t work that hard on Monday to come and not play tonight.’ That was the momentum coming into the game.”
As winners of both previous meetings this season, the Lady Indians wasted no time setting the tone, with Taylor Mette earning a kill and an ace along with a pair of early errors by the Hatchets to put the Lady Indians up 4-0. Kills from Kassidy Pemberton and Rachel Jackman put the Lady Indians up 8-1 before an ace from Olivia Eckhardt put the team up 9-1.
“We didn’t play our best and we haven’t against them all season,” said Lady Hatchets head coach Ronda Schlechte. “It’s mental. I don’t know why we just can’t make it work with them. They are strong and very quick.”
A kill from Lady Hatchets’ Mackinzee Reynolds cut the Lady Indians’ lead to seven before Jackman answered with a pair of kills as well as a kill from Mette to go up 12-3.
After an error from the Lady Hatchets, Pemberton came through with an ace of her own before Jackman rose up for a spike to make it a 12-point lead at 15-3.
But the Hatchets were able to put together a bit of a run starting with a kill from Karlie Bean and Mackenzie Brown. A block from Reynolds at the net made it a six-point game.
Back-to-back lift violations for the Lady Hatchets set them back combined with a hitting error to put the Lady Indians back up nine.
“We had a little slump there in the first game and I think got a little complacent thinking we were just going to win,” Klingler said. “The only thing different I told them to do was play as hard as they did on Monday.”
This time, the Lady Indians didn’t let the Lady Hatchets get back in it, with Mette serving an ace followed by a kill from Brooke Runge.
The Lady Indians got its twenty-third point off a position violation as the ball was being served before serving error set the Lady Indians up for set point, which Jackman earned on a soft finish over the blocking Lady Hatchets for a 25-16 first set win.
“I felt like they made more adjustments than what we did,” Schlechte said. “They were tipping us to death and we worked on that at practice last night and it just didn’t follow through into tonight. We had a lot of pluses this season.”
The momentum swung to the second set for the Lady Indians, starting out with a kill from Runge before back-to-back aces from Mette to go up 3-0. A kill from Pemberton and another kill from Runge put the Lady Indians up 5-0 before they committed back-to-back errors to make it 5-2.
But the Lady Indians stayed on track, following up with kills from Ellie McManaway and Pemberton to offset the errors.
A kill from Reynolds and an error from the Lady Indians cut Altamont’s lead down to three before a pair of violations by the Hatchets grew the deficit back to five.
Kills from Pemberton and Mette put the Indians back up by six before a kill and ace from Jackman grew the lead to 13-6. Consecutive kills by Mette following a pair of errors by the Hatchets grew the lead to 17-8.
After a kill from Windsor/Stewardson-Strasburg’s Brown slowed down the Lady Indians’ run, Runge responded with back-to-back kills with a soft touch to go up 19-9.
Bean earned a kill for the Lady Hatchets followed by an Altamont error to cut the deficit to eight, but Pemberton responded with a kill before an ace from Eckhardt put the Lady Indians up 22-11.
“I’m going to give a big shoutout to Olivia, her serves were awesome,” Klingler said. “Brooke Runge placed the ball well, but I’d have to say all seven of them worked very hard and they all did a very good job.”
An error followed by a kill from McManaway set up the match point for the Lady Indians, which Jackman slammed the door on with a spike to earn the win and advance.
The Lady Hatchets’ run comes to an end after making it all the way to the Super-sectional as No. 7 seed with impressive wins to get to the sectional championship.
Up next, the Lady Indians will take on Norris City at the Bridgeport (Red Hill) Super-sectional Friday at 7 p.m.