By Dylan Wallace
For The Republic
SEYMOUR — After Tuesday’s three-set win over Crothersville, Trinity Lutheran head coach Faith Wilder-Newland wasn’t pleased with her team’s focus heading into Thursday’s match.
On Thursday night inside Bollinger Athletic Complex against Hauser, the Cougar coach saw a much more energized group, which resulted in a 25-17, 25-14, 25-14 victory over the Jets.
“A lot better focus and serving,” Wilder-Newland said. “We missed twelve serves on Tuesday, but we came out and really served well tonight. We only missed four serves on the whole night.”
What was Class A No. 2 Trinity’s strength was also Hauser’s weakness on Thursday. Jets head coach Jeff Case pinpointed serve-receive as a reason why his team struggled.
“We needed to have serve-receive better,” Case said. “We needed to put pressure to get them out of their offense. They have a really good offense, good hitters and if you’re not putting pressure on them and being aggressive, they’re going to tee off on you. We‘ve got to tighten up and improve on that.”
The first set was tight between both teams to start. Trinity had the advantage out of the gate, but a 4-0 Hauser run gave the Jets an 8-7 lead, and Wilder-Newland called timeout.
Her team responded from there. The Cougars gained a 16-14 advantage, extended that to 22-17 before Carson Bowling got a kill to end the set 25-17. Bowling was honored before the match for picking up her 500th career kill in Trinity’s last outing.
In the second set, it was Hauser that got off to a good start. Kayden Miller served an ace that gave the Jets a 7-2 lead.
But Trinity battled back. Trailing 11-8, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take a 15-11 lead, and Case called timeout.
Trinity continued to roll from there, winning the set 25-14 after Ava Blomenburg sent an attack across the net and Hauser had a passing error.
“We were not passing the ball very well,” Wilder-Newland said on her team’s slow start in the second set. “We had a couple communication errors, so once we got past that and just started chipping away, it was much better.”
As for the Jets, Case said, “We lost focus a bit in the second set. We just got down our ourselves.”
As the third set was tied at eight, Trinity used a 6-0 run behind the serving of Bailey Tabeling and Lila Hunter to gain the advantage in the set.
An ace from Drew Hubbard ended the third set 25-14 to complete the sweep for the Cougars.
“We wanted to be able to get some of the younger kids in and get them experience,” Wilder-Newland said. “(Freshmen) Maddie Adams Lila Hunter came in and both served well.”
With the win, Trinity improved to 15-5.
Leading the Cougars were Tabeling with 18 kills, Bowling added 13 and Hubbard had six. Bowling had three blocks while Tabeling and Laina Klinge each had two. Laura Roeder and Adams both served two aces, and Addison Darlage recorded 36 assists.
Hauser is now 16-7. Miller led the Jets with two aces, while Charlie Clark and Adrianna Musillami each had one ace. Kenze Bostic pounded 11 kills, Clark added six and Aniston Bostic had five. Clark, Kyra Meister and Mattie Foster all notched 10 digs, and Musillami had 17 assists.
“Kenze was doing a really good job,” Case said. “Adrianna set well. We made some good defensive digs. Maddie had some good digs. We just have to be more consistent.”
Next up for both teams will be home tournaments on Saturday.
The Cougars will play Mitchell and New Washington at home, while Hauser will host the Heritage Days Classic against Oldenburg Academy, Franklin County and Columbus North.
“It can help you get ready for postseason play. It’s good for us,” Case said on Saturday’s classic. “We’ll try to take something positive out of this as hard as that may be.”