Their final win was an earned one.
Carroll’s volleyball team closed out its regular season Thursday with a straight-set victory over Angola (15-8), while the Hornets trailed by no more than four points in each set.
“We obviously still have a lot to get ready for before sectionals, but it’s good to end on a win after the season that we’ve had and everything going on right now with COVID,” Carroll Head Coach Holly Miller said.
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Chargers, who have missed several key pieces of their varsity roster throughout the year. The final match of their regular season was no exception, as senior setter Taya Haffner, who owns Carroll’s school record for career assists, sat out the majority of the plays with an ankle injury, while rotating in briefly to serve throughout the match. In her absence, junior Kaley Matney handled the majority of the setting responsibilities, collecting 21 assists on the night. Senior McKenzie Christlieb added to the effort, assisting on nine points in the win.
“We’re trying to play it safe just to get through, but still making sure Kaley is getting hits. We need Kaley to hit in sectionals, and she’s a setter in club, so we felt confident there, and Kenzie sets in practice all the time. And I was making sure all my seniors got in. It was their last time ever playing in the Fieldhouse,” Miller said.
After the Hornets put the pressure on with a late rally to come within two points of the Chargers in the first set, Carroll recollected itself, taking a 26-24 win. The Chargers claimed the second set 25-21 and the third 25-22.
Sophomore Ellie Frey led the team’s offense with 10 kills and four aces on the night — both team highs. Freshman Brenna Ginder grabbed 15 defensive digs, and Matney and Ella Etter each had two blocks.
The win brought Carroll to a final regular-season record of 20-9, making this the second year in a row that the Chargers have amassed 20 wins. The last time the program had fewer than 20 wins in a season was in 2008.
“We have experience on our side,” Miller said. “We’re senior-heavy, Kaley’s a junior, Ellie Frey is a sophomore, and they have experience at sectionals, so I think that’s on our side, but we also know that on any given day anyone can beat anyone. We’re not the underdogs. Sometimes it’s good to be an underdog because you have nothing to lose. Just keeping them mentally focused is going to be my job next week.”
Carroll competes in the Snider sectional beginning Thursday against East Noble (8-18). Carroll defeated the Knights 3-0 when the two teams met Aug. 19. The Chargers have notched shutout wins this year over three of the other four teams competing for the title, including Snider, Northrop and DeKalb.
“They have tomorrow off to rest and then we’ll get back after it Monday, because sectionals are not going to be easy for us,” Miller said Thursday. “Teams are gunning for us, so we have to work out some things to make sure we are playing the best that we can and controlling our side.”
On Oct. 8, five Carroll volleyball players were named to the Indiana Volleyball Coaches Association’s academic all-state team. Ella Bolinger, Fish, Haffner, Christlieb and Hadley Powers all joined this year’s honorees.