For the second year in a row Southwood would meet Fairfield in the semi-state to decide who was going to the state championship game. Last year the Lady Knights prevailed and met Muncie Burris for the state title.
This year the outcome was a little different as the Lady Knights could not get past Fairfield for their shot at Burris again, falling to Fairfield 22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 20-25.
One would have hoped since Fairfield had watched Southwood the game before them dominate Madison-Grant and then have to go five games to defeat Winamac that they would have been down and tired. Instead it was just the opposite. It was one of those nights where Fairfield was on their game and the Lady Knights just couldn’t get it going.
Game one was just as expected, tight the whole time. Fairfield took the early lead, never up more than two points and then the score being tied at 10. Abby Harness kept Southwood in it early with two kills and a tip. Fairfield would build the lead to 13-10 and then 17-12 before Southwood would try to mount a come back. Meghan Binkerd had an ace and then Harness two kills to cut the lead to 20-18. Fairfield would outscore Southwood 5-2 down the stretch for a 25-22 win.
Game two was a nail biter. Southwood took the early lead at 5-4 with a Kristen Murphy block and extended it to 10-5 with another Murphy kill. One of the most bizzare no calls happened during the Southwood run. The ball was being received by Fairfield with it being hit straight up in the air, coming down and bouncing straight up off the floor and Fairfield hitting it back over the net with no call by four officials. The Lady Knights would keep their composure and gain the point. Southwood would hold the lead and were up 22-17 before Fairfield would mount a come back. At 23-20 Fairfield would score four straight to take a 24-23 lead. Southwood tied it with a block from Murphy and Meagan Chittick. Up 25-24 a jump ball was called because a player from each team had their hands on the ball above the net, with the point going to the offense and Southwood had knotted the match at one.
In game three Southwood took control early, building the lead from 4-3 to 8-3. They would maintain their lead and were up 15-11 before Fairfield would come back with a 4-0 run to tie it. The game would be tied two more times before Fairfield took the lead for good at 18-17. The Lady Knights just couldn’t cut in to the lead and Fairfield won game three 25-21.
After game three it looked as though the wind had been taken out of Southwood’s sails. The Lady Knights just couldn’t get it going and were making uncharacteristic mistakes. They had the score tied at 4 when the wheels fell off. Fairfield went on a 6-0 run to take a 10-4 lead and it was all down hill from there. They built the lead to 19-12 and then 23-15 before Southwood would have one more push. After a kill from McCormick and a tip from Binkerd, Southwood had cut the lead to 23-20. The run was over and so was Southwood’s season as Fairfield scored the last two points to win the match and eliminate Southwood from the state tournament. It was an amazing journey for the eight seniors who set the standard for Southwood volleyball.
Katelyn Smith 6 service points, 1 ace, 5 digs
Meghan Binkerd 4 service points, 1 ace, 6 kills, 9 digs, 40 assists, 2 blocks
Kristen Murphy 5 kills, 5 blocks
Rachael Bridegroom 10 service points, 3 aces, 3 digs
Mindy Metz 4 service points, 3 kills, 8 digs
Celeste McCormick 2 service points, 1 ace, 7 kills, 1 block, 1 dig
Abby Harness 11 kills, 1 block, 2 digs
Abby Kirk 10 service points, 1 aces, 1 assists, 1 kill, 19 digs
Meagan Chittick 15 kills, 1 dig