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GARRETT — Coming into the 2010 volleyball season, Churubusco knew what they had to deal with.
Losing five seniors, two of which were all-conference selections, the Lady Eagles were in the midst of a rebuilding period within the program.
New head coach Trinda Goings added to the changes happening at ’Busco. After some time away from coaching, Goings returned with a young team and a work in progress.
“It’s been the same story all year, we’re young,” Goings said. “But the girls stepped up this year. We got two freshman, two sophomores and two juniors on the floor. That says a lot for our future.”
Thursday, Churubusco was trying to keep its season alive in the class 2A Garrett sectional.
Among the favorites, a 27-7 Prairie Heights team met the Lady Eagles in the first round.
Despite falling in three games, Churubusco improved with each game against the Lady Panthers ending their season on a positive note 6-25, 15-25, 16-25.
“We definitely were not ready that first game,” Goings noted. “We knew it was going to be a battle but we wanted to go out with respect tonight.”
Following up a 25-6 loss in the first game, the Lady Eagle hung with Heights down only four points midway through game two.
A 25-15 loss led to Churubusco’s best game of the night in game three.
“We got better as the night went on,” Goings said. “In that third game, we probably played some of the best defense we’ve played all year.”
’Busco hung stayed within four points of Prairie Heights early in the final game of the match. Down 7-11, the Lady Eagles fought back to tie the game 13-13 on an ace from Lacey Pulley.
The freshman setter led the Lady Eagles in assists with eight while Gabby Jones had three aces.
“Gabby Jones played maybe the best she has all year,” Goings noted. “That’s the Gabby we’ve been looking for all year. I was very proud of her.
“Danielle Pippenger has grown into a very nice volleyball player as a freshman.”
Pippenger led the team in two departments Thursday. The Lady Eagles freshman had 12 digs and four kills.
“They’re smarter volleyball players,” Goings commented. “They’ve learned a ton. We’ve got a good base to build on for next year.”