Volleyball Zionsville

The Zionsville volleyball team poses after winning the Zionsville Invite.

ZIONSVILLE – The Zionsville volleyball team kept themselves busy last week.

The Eagles had six matches in six days, including five in the final four days of the week.

Zionsville lost a tough five-set match to Carmel, but came back the next night to defeat Franklin Central on Thursday, then won their Invite on Saturday.

“Six matches in a week is brutal, but it was a good learning experience,” Zionsville head coach Rich Coleman said. “The girls got to see what it was like to be a high-level student athlete, juggling exams and so many games. By and large we did a good job with gameplan execution and our focus.”

The 5-1 week moved the Eagles to 12-3 on the year, with all three losses being five-set matches.

While he would have loved to win all three, Coleman said the important thing is learning from those experiences.

“It really it is just getting over that hump and getting that confidence,” Coleman said. “We still have moments and lapses in the fifth, and that comes with an inexperienced team. And unfortunately we are going against ranked teams that have been through those battles, and we haven’t yet. The girls know and understand that it is about translating what we do in practice to matches.”

Another thing that will be helpful is the quick turnarounds the Eagles faced against two quality, but different, teams.

Coleman said falling to Carmel in five, then coming back to beat Franklin Central 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-12, 25-20) created a sectional like environment for the Eagles.

“They are two entirely different teams, with different strengths,” Coleman said. “It is like it will be in the sectional, where we will have to adjust quickly to different styles of play within a day.”

The Eagles had no problems in winning their invite, easily going 3-0.

They beat East Central 2-0 (25-16, 25-15), West Lafayette 2-0 (25-15, 25-11) and Cardinal Ritter 2-0 (25-6, 25-11).

It was a clean program sweep, with the JV and freshmen teams also winning their tournaments.

Coleman said throughout the week, different players stood out at different times.

“We have had a great steady presence in Anna Murphy and Katie Kirkendol,” Coleman said. “Murph leading our first contact is so important and Katie has been making great decisions. But other girls have stepped up. Amy Olivova played great against Carmel and Avery Moore stepped up in the last few sets against Franklin Central, and Sydney Aguirre has been great throughout and taking big swings at big times.”

Murphy got her 1,000th dig in her career earlier in the season.

Coleman said she has been key to the Eagles’ success.

“Couple years ago Jillian Ziemba shared time with her at libero, and Lauren Latka did too,” Coleman said. “To be able to get 1,000 digs, and not be libero for all four years, speaks even higher of her abilities and what she does for the team. That is a significant milestone for a defensive specialist and a tremendous achievement. You like when great things happen to great people, and that is great for her and her family, who have given their hearts and souls to the program.”

The Eagles have matches Tuesday night against Harrison and Thursday night against Noblesville.

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Zionsville Times Sentinel and Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.

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