Local Sports

Veteran Triton Central volleyball team pins loss on youthful Shelbyville squad

For Triton Central, pace creates pressure. And pressure creates more scoring opportunities.

After splitting the first two games Monday at William L. Garrett Gymnasium with Shelbyville, the visiting Tigers turned up the pace on the Golden Bears and took the next two games to secure a 25-23, 17-25, 25-17, 25-19 victory.

“We’ve been trying not only with the sets and the attacks but just getting into and out of our offense (quicker),” said Triton Central head coach Ray Basile. “The point is over and getting our server back and getting everybody reset and go. Volleyball tends to be a wait and see if (the opponent) is ready and then serve the ball. Everybody gets used to a tempo.

“We are trying to create our own energy by just playing faster with everything we are doing, even between points on our side. I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that.”

Triton Central (15-3) needed a late rally to salvage game one against the Golden Bears (5-15). Shelbyville led 21-17 before the Tigers produced six straight points on a Kaitlin Bramlett kill, two Shelbyville unforced hitting errors, back-to-back service aces by Kate Isley and a Maddy Brown kill to make is 23-21.

The Golden Bears scored the next two points to tie the game but a serve into the net and a wide spike attempt closed out game one in Triton Central’s favor.

Shelbyville started quickly in game two and finished off the Tigers, who never found their rhythm.

“In that second set, we started missing serves and  started making bad passes on serve receive,” said Basile. “I don’t remember the exact statistic, but somewhere around 75% to 80% of the teams that win on serve and serve receive, those two statistics, will win the match regardless of anything else you do. I thought we probably won those on three of the sets and definitely lost it on that second set and you could see it.”

Shelbyville established another lead in the crucial third game but Triton Central overcame a poor serving stretch to tie the game at 8-all before scoring 10 of the next 13 points – the last one on an emphatic spike from Kayden Simmons to make it 18-11.

Triton Central closed out the game with a kill from Bramlett and an ace from Isley.

A Maddy Brown kill early in game four started a 5-0 run for the Tigers to make it 11-8. Triton Central would trail only once more in the game before pulling away in the end.



“We are a team that just goes on a roller coaster,” said first-year Shelbyville coach Katie Winters. “We have some really good sets, and then the next set we get too comfortable and lose focus and that trickles down and it’s hard to get back into it.”

The wins have been sporadic for an inexperienced Shelbyville program that lost seven seniors including record-setting setter Gracie Leffler and defensive specialist Emma Nolley, who is playing collegiately at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas.

“We lost seven and that was pretty much the whole starting lineup,” said Winters, who was an assistant coach at Shelbyville last season. “The maturity and experience at this level, we lack that in some cases. The game, mentally, is keeping up from winning in the end.

Triton Central strung together 11-straight wins earlier this season before losing to Speedway. With four seniors contributing including Brown, who set the program’s career kills record in the first match of the season, Basile believes there is still room for improvement from a team that has already won 15 matches.

“They seem to be ready to play at a better level and that’s what we’ve been waiting on,” said Basile. “It’s not a talent thing, it’s a mental thing  and it was a lot better tonight.”

Brown led Triton Central with 12 kills against the Golden Bears. Brooklyn Bailey finished with 11 and Bramlett had eight. Isley had 35 assists.

Triton Central travels to Mt. Vernon (7-14) Thursday.

For Shelbyville, the goal is to play with more consistency.

“Every day I want to see us compete,” said Winters. “I think if we would have competed tonight, you would have seen a better outcome. Mentally-staying engaged is our key to success. Hopefully, this second half of the season we can keep them engaged and compete to be at our best at the end of the season.”

Senior Shelby Lasure led Shelbyville with 16 kills. Sophomore Ashlyn Turner had 13 kills, four aces and 11 digs.

Senior setter Karlie Lawson collected 32 assists and 20 digs.

The Golden Bears quickly shook off the loss to Triton Central and produced a 4-game win Tuesday at Lawrence Central.

After losing game one, Shelbyville responded to get a 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-7 win over the Bears (4-13).

Kenyara Agnew led Lawrence Central with six kills. Izzy Simonsen had three aces and 17 assists.

Shelbyville will go for its first back-to-back wins Thursday when Franklin (13-6) visits Garrett Gymnasium.