WASHINGTON TWP. | Losing the Porter County Conference to Hanover Central simply poured fuel on Washington Twp.’s fire during this postseason.
That was never more evident than in Saturday’s Washington Twp. Sectional, where the Senators were disciplined from the first serve, routing Kouts 25-13, 25-9, 25-17 to capture their fifth consecutive sectional championship.
“I’m very pleased,” Washington Twp. coach Kevin Labaj said. “Coming into this match, we had a really hard tournament last week that took a lot of energy out of us, so I didn’t know how prepared we were going to be.
"They were all very disciplined in practice this week; they did everything to a T.”
That discipline was never more evident than in the second game.
After going up 8-5 early, the Senators (18-9) scored seven consecutive points to jump ahead 15-5 and effectively chalk up a win and go up 2-0 in the match.
Seniors Lindsay Henry and Ashley Hines have now won four consecutive sectional championships, and as the only seniors on this team, admitted it was a bit of a learning experience stepping up as leaders.
However, Henry has been able to step into that position seamlessly.
“I tried to lead by example," she said. "If I was down on myself, I tried to pick myself up. Ashley and I have played together for four years. I couldn’t do it without her.”
Losing six seniors last year left some doubters milling around, but Hines was determined to prove them wrong.
“We had a lot of confidence in each other,” Hines said. “Knowing that we lost everybody, we still had to come out strong. Losing PCC definitely pumped us up. It made us really want this 10 times more.”
The third game started out slowly for the Senators.
Kouts (5-13) was up 7-4 at one point, but Washington Twp. fired back with a six-point swing to go up 10-7 and force the Fillies into a timeout.
“It’s a building year for us,” Kouts coach Karyl Van Dyke said. “We’ve been through ups and downs, but I’m just excited for next year.
"We lose one senior (Megan Gauler). They’re a great group to work with.”