Defense helps Wildcats beat Tell City for title

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Sports Editor

FERDINAND—Mater Dei used strong defense in the front and back rows to beat Tell City 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-10 to win the Forest Park volleyball sectional Saturday night.
The Wildcats put two blockers on Tell City kills leader McKenzie Hayes at all times and held her to 17 kills, about two below her average.
They always had three tall spiker/blockers in the front row while Tell City usually had just two.
And the Wildcats had great quickness in the back row, where they dug up several Tell City hits that would usually be kills.
One Tell City spike was only about six inches from the floor when a Wildcat made a nice dig on it.
“They picked everything up,” said Tell City Coach Dalonda Hayes.
As for Tell City’s defense, it “was so good this morning (in the semifinals against Perry Central),” said Dalonda Hayes. “Tonight it was not anywhere near that.
“But I’m proud of this group of girls. They played hard to the end.”
After losing the first two games of the best-of-five match, the Marksmen rallied to win the next one after falling behind 3-0 at the start.
McKenzie Hayes served four consecutive points, including one on a kill by Logan Flannagan, to put the Marksmen ahead 8-7.
Mater Dei made two blocks in a row to regain the lead 20-19 and led 22-20 after another block.
But Flannagan served the next three points, with the help of a block and a kill by Kassidie Hayes, to put Tell City ahead 24-22.
The Marksmen scored the last point after an incredibly long volley.
They could not carry that momentum into the fourth game. though, falling behind 6-1, 10-2 and 22-5.
Tell City led 22-19 in the first game. But Maura Muensterman served the last six points for Mater Dei, the final one on a kill by Tori Schickel.
Flannagan finished with 10 kills for Tell City and Kassidie Hayes added seven kills and six blocks—four solos. Charissa Lahee had 33 assists.
Besides her 17 kills, McKenzie Hayes made 12 digs and two blocks and served seven points, including two aces. Flannagan served 10 points.
Taylor Benningfield made nine digs and Stori Beard added seven.
Tell City, which lost to Mater Dei in the championship match for the third year in a row, finished 27-4.