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Lady Cats easily win Senior Night EIAC contest

John Estridge, Sports Editor

Franklin County Volleyball coach Jill Mergenthal started all of her five seniors Thursday night for the last regular-season matchup and Senior Night at the Franklin County High School gymnasium.

The sixth was the Libero, junior Jalynn Rogers.

While all six of the Wildcats play regularly, they are not usually on the floor at the same time so they had to adjust to new positions and a new rotation.

Mergenthal may want to try that strategy some more as the Wildcats soundly defeated Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe South Dearborn 3-1.

And the one game loss, the night’s third game, should not have occurred.

“Yes, this was a new lineup. Jenna (Orschell) took over an old role she used to hold in 7-9th grade as a setter,” Mergenthal said. Anna Sacksteder and Jalynn Rogers stayed on the court with the Seniors. (Juniors) Rachel Bischoff and Kelly Layton sat out. With the amount of energy everyone had tonight, I am not surprised with how we played.”

One of the seniors, Megan Getz, always begins the Wildcat rotations by serving.

In the first game, Getz held serve for nine straight points.

A side out for the visiting Knights went no further than that before the Wildcats got the ball back to the service line. Four of the next six servers scored more than one point from the service line.

The last server to win the game was Getz once again. Scoring the game’s last two points. When she finished, the Wildcats won the first game, 25-8.

“Megan Getz has a great serve and when she's on, she's on,” Mergenthal said.

The ease of that first-game win did not surprise the coach.

“Adrenaline and energy is what makes this team shine along with their athletic abilities,” Mergenthal said. “That's when this team is unstoppable.”

In that first game, senior Meredith Bohman had three kills. For the night, she led the team with eight kills and two blocks.

“Meredith was on her game tonight,” Mergenthal said. “She had a great game at the net and serving.”

Once again in game two, the Wildcats jumped ahead early. This time it was on the back of senior Layne Steele’s three consecutive serves for points.

When she was finished, the Wildcats had a 7-4 lead. However, this time the Wildcats could not elongate their lead with the Knights staying within three all the way to an 11-11 tie.

At that point, the Knights led for the first time when senior Darcy Rose dropped an ace serve on the Wildcats.

SD continued to lead until the Wildcats knotted the score again at 14-all and 15-15.

Bohman got a point off a serve after a side out to give the Wildcats a small lead.

However, senior Kaitlyn Obert rattled off four consecutive serves for points followed by Rogers game-winning serve.

Somewhat fittingly, Obert got the next to last point off a kill and that was followed by Bohman’s game-winning kill.

Complacency and over confidence is a terrible combination. FC was able to survive that second-game scare, but in the third game, it disabled the Wildcats potent offense.

“I have noticed that this season, I think that we did get a little too confident,” Mergenthal said. “South Dearborn gave us the same run for our money earlier in the season.”

Mergenthal was at a loss of words to explain game three.

Even though the Wildcats led (as late as 14-10) it seemed like the Wildcats were really never in the game.

The Knights front line came alive for a series of kills, dominating the Wildcats at the net.

As a result of the turnaround, the Knights won 25-18.

“Not really sure what happened in set three,” Mergenthal said. “All I can figure is that the juniors were cold from sitting two sets. That was my original lineup, and it really shook me when they played that third set and lost. It was not what I had thought would happen, but the team just didn't communicate with each other.”

Although Mergenthal cannot remember saying any magical words between the third and fourth sets, something happened to the Wildcats. They seemed to be the same team that dominated the initial set.

FC jumped out to a 9-3 lead on the backs of Steele and Bohman’s serves as well as Bohman and Orschell’s play around the net.

SD got a side out and a subsequent ace to cut the lead to 9-5.

However a side out led to Orschell rattling off four straight points from the service line. She was followed by Ebert’s four successful serves.

In those runs, sophomore Makyah Richardson made her presence felt at the net with a block and a couple of kills. Orschell added a dink.

Almost fittingly, Getz was at the service line to score the match’s final two points which was won on Bohman’s kill, 25-12.

Both Bohman and Orschell really stood out in that final game.

“They both had goods games,” Mergenthal said. “It is amazing what energy levels can make this team do. With all the emotions of it being their last game besides sectionals, they picked up a second wind. This team is full of fun, little surprises.”

While Mergenthal was happy with the win, Senior Night was very bittersweet for her. She has coached many of the seniors since middle school years.

“There were a lot of mixed emotions from Senior Night,” Mergenthal said. “These five seniors are an extension of my closest family members. Megan Getz and Layne Steele have been coached by me since they were 7th graders at BMS. I coached there in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Then, I got asked to take over the JV team in 2016. These girls mean the world to me.”

FC played Lawrenceburg in the opening game of the Batesville Sectional Tuesday night, Oct. 9. Results were not available until after press time.