BROOKVILLE – Two evenly matched volleyball teams took the floor Saturday evening at Franklin County High School.

One would become the sectional champion.

The Batesville Lady Bulldogs and Connersville Lady Spartans battled to the very end before a winner was determined.

Five games and nearly two hours later, the Lady Bulldogs emerged victorious and celebrated a hard-fought 11-25, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23 and 16-14 triumph over the Lady Spartans.

“This is great and we are so happy for the girls,” BHS head coach Diane Prickel commented. “We told them before we started they had to play with their hearts and if they did they could win.”

The Lady Bulldogs did just that and put it all out on the line.

Connersville looked unstoppable in the first game and cruised to an easy 14 point victory.

The Lady Bulldogs then trailed at one point 17-11 in game two and their title hopes seemed distant.

But Cami Fledderman stepped to the service line and the Lady Bulldogs rallied behind her to score four consecutive points and trim the deficit to 17-16. Earlier in the game, it was a pair of kills by Emily Fledderman, which kept the Lady Bulldogs within reach.

From that point in the match, the Lady Bulldogs regained their confidence and matched the Lady Spartans point for point and then some.

A Carrie Giltz kill shut the door on the Lady Spartans in game two as Batesville tied the match.

Just as the Lady Bulldogs did not waiver after the game one loss, the Lady Spartans bounced right back to take the third game in a similar fashion as they did game one.

A diving play by Megan Siebert and Cami Fledderman kept a key rally alive late in game four, which culminated in a kill by Justine Allen to put the Lady Bulldogs on top 21-18.

The two teams traded service points the rest of the way until a perfectly placed ball by Giltz dropped to the floor for the game’s final point. The two point Batesville win forced a fifth and deciding game.

The Lady Bulldogs capitalized on the momentum gained in the later stages of game four and jumped out to a 6-2 lead.

But as quickly as it looked like the Lady Bulldogs were on their way to the regional, the Lady Spartans rallied to tie the game at 13-13 and then take a 14-13 lead.

With the game on the line, Prickel signaled for a Batesville time-out. Back-to-back kills by Giltz and Madison Lamppert gave the Lady Bulldogs the lead back.

This time Connersville tried to break the momentum with a time-out, but it did not work.

Cami Fledderman stepped back to the service line, and after a short exchange, the Lady Spartans were unable to get the ball back across the net and the celebration began for the Lady Bulldogs.

“It was definitely exciting,” Prickel commented. “I could not be any happier with the effort.

“It was just a team effort ... it took every person, not a single person really stood out.”

The Lady Bulldogs had defeated the Lady Spartans earlier in the year, but coach Prickel was the first to admit this was a much better team this time around.

“They have a very good team,” Prickel commented. “They played really well tonight.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who improved to 27-8 on the season, can only enjoy this win for a short time because waiting in the first round of the Hamilton Heights regional is No. 3 ranked New Castle. New Castle will enter the contest with a mark of 30-5.

On the other side of the bracket is only the No. 1 and No.2 teams in the state. Brebeuf Jesuit and Roncalli will battle for the other regional finals berth.

Lady Bulldogs

beat Greensburg

The Lady Bulldogs advanced to the sectional finals with a win over Greensburg in the semifinals Saturday morning.

Batesville needed four games and won by the scores of 25-11, 18-25, 25-16 and 25-18.

The Lady Bulldogs were led by a solid passing effort from Prickel and Siebert to set the attack, according to coach Diane Prickel.

Emily Fledderman and Giltz were two key components to the attack. Fledderman finished with a team high 15 kills, while Giltz added 14.

The Lady Pirates, who are coached by Randy Obermeyer, were led by sisters Ciara and April Hershauer. April Hershauer led the team in digs with 16 followed by Ciara with 15, while the two also led the team with 10 kills apiece. Holly Kohrman set up the attack with 16 setting assists.

“They dominated us in the first game,” Obermeyer commented. “Our nerves settled and we played much better in the second game.

“They have a very good team and it showed in the evening against Connersville,” he added.

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