North tops BNL in four sets

COLUMBUS – Bloomington North conquered Bedford North Lawrence in four sets during the first round of Class 4A Sectional 14 on Thursday night at Columbus East.

The Cougars (18-10) advanced with a 25-15, 25-17, 20-25, 25-12 triumph. The Stars, who also fell to North in three sets on Aug. 22, bowed out of the postseason with a 14-13 record, 10 more wins than last season.

North will face Columbus East, a 5-set winner over Bloomington South in the second match on Thursday, in the second semifinal on Saturday. Columbus North will meet Martinsville in the first semifinal at 11 a.m. The final is set for 7 p.m.

The Stars couldn’t overcome slow starts.

“We played hard,” BNL coach Gabrielle Arthur said. “We lost to a good team. It happens.”

BNL picked up the tempo in the third set, but couldn’t maintain it.

“We served extremely well and executed,” Arthur said of the brief comeback. “We just really swung hard and North wasn’t playing as good on defense.”

Annie Waggoner paced the Stars with 19 assists, 10 digs and 5 dump points. Haley Deckard had 7 kills, 8 digs and 7 blocks, Sydney Gipson totaled 6 digs, Brynlea Bennett had 10 digs and 3 aces, and Carlee Kern added 8 kills and 7 digs.

“All the seniors showed excellent leadership tonight in different ways,” Arthur said. “We really missed Myla (Bergman, out after an exposure to COVID-19).

“This season was nothing short of incredible. Nobody expected this great of an outcome. The girls showed up and worked hard, and proved themselves to every opponent we played. They were dedicated from Game 1 to Game 27.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them. They really set the tone for what BNL volleyball will be moving forward.”

No.11 East fought off South 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 15-12.