Floyd Central earned a regional title and rematch with the top-ranked high school volleyball team in the country on Tuesday evening.
The Highlanders fought past visiting Castle in three sets to win their third straight Class 4-A regional championship on Tuesday night, posting a 25-14, 25-21, 25-21 victory en route to a clash with No.1 Cathedral in Saturday’s semistate at Seymour.
While not as crisp as they were during their victory in the sectional at Jennings County on Saturday, the Highlanders (26-10) had too much power for the Knights (26-10). Gwyn Jones had 14 kills while Mikaila Humphrey added 10 kills.
Their next challenge is the greatest. Cathedral (which won its regional 25-20, 25-18, 25-10 over Mt. Vernon to improve to 33-0) is last year’s state runner-up and bounced the Highlanders in the semistate last season.
“Oh, boy,” Humphrey said. “That will be a big wall we have to get over.”
The Highlanders were a wall themselves in the first set against Castle, with Jones and Humphrey doing the damage. But after Floyd Central cruised to a 10-3 lead in the second set, Castle finally fought back. The Knights closed to a 19-19 tie before Jones and Humphrey asserted themselves to close that set. Castle roared to a 17-11 lead in the third.
The Highlanders battled back, getting even at 19-19 and riding that momentum to the finish.
“That was really nerve racking,” Humphrey said. “That took some pumping up. We were doing it for each other. Sometimes it is hard to maintain a level (of intensity). We had a little slump.”
“The second set wasn’t very good, and I wasn’t crazy about the third set either,” Powell said. “It’s disappointing we let it get to that point. It wasn’t close to the level we played Saturday. I’m happy that we won, but dissatisfied. We dug ourselves out of it. They found a way to win it.”
Castle was looking for revenge from last year’s 25-19, 25-14, 27-25 regional loss to Floyd Central, and are gunning for its first regional title since 1995. But the Highlanders denied that as freshman Sara Sans had 36 assists, Humphrey added 17 defensive digs and Abby Bigler totaled 15 digs.
“Winning three in a row is hard to do,” Powell said. “So I’m really excited.”
Center Grove and Avon will meet in the semistate opener on Saturday. The championship is set for Saturday night.