COLUMBUS — Barr-Reeve volleyball coach Amber DeCoursey has long prided her program as one that will play anybody, anytime, anywhere. On Saturday it was never more evident as the Lady Vikings ventured to the Columbus East Tournament, where all eight teams were ranked among the top 50 (regardless of class) teams in the state. At the end of the day, the Lady Vikes (28-3, 2A No. 2) finished 3-1, and showed they belong among the state’s elite.
In the opener, the Lady Vikings played some of their best volleyball of the year in the opening set against Franklin High School. A nearly flawless attack gave the Vikings a 25-12 opening set win. After trailing 13-10 in the second set, the Vikes put together a quick 7-0 run to grab the lead, and took a 25-19 win.
Plainfield was the opponent in the second game of pool play. The Vikings took early leads in both the first and second game at 22-19, and finished each game with 25-21 victories.
The third game of pool play was against the host Columbus East, and the first set saw the Vikings be defeated more soundly than any other set this season. The Lady Olympians size, potent attack, and big block gave them many easy points on the way to a 25-16 victory, but the Vikings quickly flipped the script in the second set.
Barr-Reeve used aggressive serving and a lock down defense to turn a 12-8 advantage into a 25-12 win, setting up a third set race to 15. After being tied at 13-13, a kill and an ace gave the Olympians a 15-13 victory, and gave the Vikings their third loss of the season.
In the consolation game, the Vikings perhaps played their best opponent of the season. Avon, ranked as the No. 5 team in the state, has also claimed three 4A state titles in the last seven years. The Vikings however showed they were the aggressor. After an early 7-1 deficit, the Vikings took off. A kill by Anna Ballengee tied the game at 9-9, and behind the stellar net play of Addison Ainscough and Hannah Graber, the Vikes ran to a 19-12 lead, and claimed the first set at 25-20.
The second set was tight the entire way, and after the Vikes opened an 18-14 lead, the Orioles made their move. Avon’s big hitter Abby Maesch, a University of Georgia volleyball commit, helped Avon take a 21-20 lead. The Vikings had the last push however as a Ballengee kill, and an ace from Ainscough gave the Vikings the match at 26-24.
DeCoursey said the day will do nothing but prepare her team for the tournament. “We really try to play a challenging schedule because it can only make you better. When we were invited, it was perfect for us, especially to play four 4A schools who are very talented right before the Sectional, that will do nothing but help us.”
Anna Ballengee led the Viking offense on the day with 42 kills, and she was followed by Addison Ainscough with 30. Hannah Graber again ignited the Viking offensive attack with 87 set assists, while Jasye Thompson added 54 digs from the libero position.
With their grueling regular season schedule behind them, in which they played 13 games against Indiana’s top 64 teams, Barr-Reeve will now move into the first round of the 2A Sectional at Eastern-Greene where they will take on Southridge in the opening round. The Vikings will play the second game on Thursday night.