October 24, 2011
Trojans Win Sectional
Trojan 12-graders clinch long-sought goal with sectional title
Senior Staff Writer
Allison Criswell didn't want to graduate from New Castle High School without holding a volleyball sectional trophy. So when Coach Alan Davis called her off the bench at match point Saturday night, she knew what to do.
Criswell, a senior who doesn't get much playing time, slammed down the the kill to beat Richmond and give the the Trojans their first sectional title in four years.
New Castle downed the Red Devils 25-12, 25-12, 25-11 in the Class 4A sectional final at the Fieldhouse. Earlier in the day, New Castle beat Pendleton and Richmond beat Connersville in the semifinals.
Since their 4A state championship in 2007, the Trojans had not won so much as a sectional on the tournament trail. So this was the last chance for Criswell, Chelsey Burris and Skylar Stigall, who were eighth-graders when New Castle took the state trophy.
"I was kind of nervous when the coach put me in," Criswell admitted. "I don't play much. The girls worked to get me the ball. This is just an awesome feeling to win the sectional."
Despite her lack of floor time over the years, Criswell refused to get discouraged. Quitting the team was never an option.
"I told the coach he was going to have to kick me off the team to get rid of me," Criswell said. "I wouldn't quit volleyball. This is what I've been working toward."
Criswell's two classmates expressed similar sentiments.
"This means so much," Burris said. "It feels amazing. Sky's the only one of us three seniors who starts, but Allison and I have our roles. We come and work hard every day. It's all about the team. Every part of the game is important. I am so happy for Allison. She needed something like that."
Stigall had back-to-back kills to give New Castle the lead for good in the third game.
"We all came together and played well all day long," Stigall said. "Each match is different. We have to be prepared for a lot of things. Whenever the team has a bad spell in a game, we seniors try to calm everyone down and encourage them to keep doing their jobs."
New Castle (29-7) will be home Tuesday for the regional tournament.
"This shows that hard work does pay off," Davis said. "We talked in the locker room about all the sacrifices we've made. These girls worked out hard all summer and stayed in condition all winter. They've put in the time, and are now reaping the dividends."