Center Grove volleyball rallies past McCutcheon

As comebacks go, the one Center Grove’s volleyball team staged Wednesday night was one for the books.

Nonetheless, it wouldn’t have mattered had the host Trojans not finished the job.

Fifth-ranked Center Grove did, rallying to defeat McCutcheon, 23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-15, 15-8 in a match packed with brilliant performances both offensively and defensively.

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While the Mavericks showcased the skills of sophomore outside hitter Chloe Chicoine (29 kills), the Trojans countered with their 1-2 punch of junior Katie Egenolf (27 kills) and senior Grace Boggess (20).

Led by Chicoine, McCutcheon (2-3) took the first two sets and were ahead 7-6 in the third when the momentum began to turn Center Grove’s way. Unable to stop the sophomore early, the Trojans started making digs and blocks they weren’t at the outset.

“I really thought the girls came out tentative and really nervous. Our defense looked very lackluster the first two sets,” Center Grove coach Chris Due said. “We started doing a better job of kind of shifting the block a little and fronting their hitters a little more.

“It made it easier for our defensive specialists to get in good position to make those plays. I thought Rylie (McMahen) struggled those first two sets defensively, but then she stepped up to a whole different level after that. And that’s the way she can play.”

The Mavericks started the season sandwiching losses to Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers around a five-set defeat of Zionsville. The home loss to Fishers, also a five-setter, took place on August 19.

McCutcheon’s season was then shelved for 27 days due to COVID-19 precautions before a Tuesday sweep of Western Boone.

Thus, fatigue could have played a part in the Mavericks losing the early momentum given the fact they were playing only their fifth match of the season.

Whatever the case, Center Grove upped its record to 10-6. After the Trojans tied the score at 7-all in the third set, senior Emma Goss (four service aces) served three consecutive points, and the team didn’t trail from that juncture on.

In the end, the combination of Egenolf and Boggess was too much for McCutcheon.

“Chloe Chicoine … she’s a beast. She’s a heck of a player. Arguably one of the top players in the state,” Due said. “However, Katie’s really been holding her own as well. I thought both teams looked a little gassed toward the end, but we pushed through.

“I motivated the girls and told them if they pulled it out that they wouldn’t have practice tomorrow. But because we have those two bigs compared to their one go-to hitter, that is definitely a big advantage.”