NEW CASTLE—This year's Squaws are a different type of challenge for coach Craig Krull, and Saturday's performance at the annual New Castle Invitational seemed to be a good barometer of Bellmont's post-season potential as they split a pair of matches against two of the toughest volleyball programs Indiana has to offer.
Since 2007, Bellmont has been a participant of the New Castle Invitational, and for the first time, the Squaws left with a win over Muncie Central. The Lady Bearcats are no stranger to success as they are currently ranked #7 in 3A this season.
After dropping the first two games against MC, Bellmont roared back to take the final three to defeat the Bearcats 23-25, 17-25, 30-28, 25-22, 15-12 in an incredible comeback.
"Last year was the first year we actually won one game," coach Krull noted of Muncie Central. "Winning the whole match against them is a good step in the right direction."
A staple of the Bellmont season, the Squaws started slowly against Muncie.
"We matched up with them, but we just seemed to struggle with our passing," Krull noted.
Games one and two found Central's service game throwing off the Squaws' game plan with both teams fighting to earn every point. The first two games also held plenty of missed opportunities for the Squaws to win but they simply did not materialize.
"We had chances to score easy points, but something always happened to stop us, a free ball passed badly, an error on hitting chances, etc."
Krull tried a line-up change moving Holly Hankenson to the middle to start game three after Bellmont dropped the first two.
"Our passing and serving improved and we still had to fight hard because Central still had the two-game advantage on us," explained Krull.
The third game, a critical one in the comeback effort, proved to be the scale-tilter as the Squaws outlasted the Lady Bearcats in overtime scoring 30-28 to keep the match alive.
With new life and momentum, Bellmont began to execute much better, aided by Taylor Rhymer who came into the outside hitting position with Hankenson moved to the middle.
"Taylor did a great job for us filling in," coach Krull praised. "She had some critical kills and blocks at the right time."