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  • Val T.

Culver figures it out in fifth set, beats LaVille

Berndt leads with 15 kills, Garland adds 16 digs, 20 serves received


Sports Editor, RTC

CULVER — Culver volleyball coach Andrea Berndt called a timeout during the fourth set of her team’s Hoosier North home match against LaVille at John R. Nelson Gymnasium on Sept. 28 and told her team to “figure it out.”

Brynn Berndt

Berndt then walked out of the huddle, and the players went to work figuring it out, eventually pulling out a 25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 15-10 win.

Brynn Berndt led Culver with 15 kills, and Maegan Pearl and Livi Overmyer had five kills each. Anna Lewis had six aces. Brynn Berndt and Overmyer had one block each. Taylor Darnell had 10 digs and added 16 serves received.

Grace Sieber had nine digs, and Shelby Olivarez had eight.

Ashley Pugh had nine assists, Berndt had seven, and Chloee Danti had six.

Avery Garland had a team-high 20 serves received to go with 16 digs.

Culver improved to 16-9 overall and finished Hoosier North play 4-3. The 16 wins are more than the previous two years combined (15).

After the earlier timeout, coach Berndt then showed belief in her team’s self-reliance in the fifth set. After LaVille scored four straight points to get to 7-7, she declined to call a timeout, and Culver responded by getting four straight points right back to go up 11-7. Sieber finished that run with a kill off the block.

“We dig ourselves in holes, and there’s nothing she can really say to us,” Brynn said. “We have to communicate with each other and honestly just talk more. And that’s what she means by ‘figure it out.’ … Chloee Danti, our setter, talked a lot more, and that helped us out.”

Coach Berndt hopes for an energized team for sectionals, which start Thursday.

“We were in the coach’s office just talking, and we’ve kind of had ups and downs since we were looking at our Tri-Central tournament, which was Sept. 17,” coach Berndt said. “Just mentally and just some lulls in the mentality and the focus of the play. It’s toward the end of the season, and the girls are just starting to get tired and just starting to get worn down. Hopefully that will feed into their mentality and the hunger.”

Brynn Berndt thought that they let LaVille stick around for too long. Culver had beaten LaVille 25-13, 25-21 in a tournament at John Glenn on Aug. 20.

“We honestly should not have put it in five,” Brynn said. “We should have ended it in three. I knew we just had to push it to the end and get it over with.”

LaVille again got to within 12-10, but the match ended on a LaVille double hit, a Pearl kill and a Lewis service winner.

“One hundred percent,” coach Berndt said, when asked if she thought about calling timeout at 7-7. “So in my mind, at 7-7, if we didn’t get that point, we were calling a timeout, but we got that point, so it saved me a little bit. Yes, it went through my mind. It’s always a battle of when do I call it and at what point do I call it. And that one I let ride, and it worked in our favor.”

Brynn said she prides herself as an all-around player who plays all six rotations. She said she has been playing since kindergarten.

When she’s not playing high school volleyball, she plays for a club team called The Academy based out of Indianapolis, whose season goes from December to April or May. She said it’s helped with her speed and agility.

“It’s just a team sport,” Brynn explained. “You get to play with other people. I love the way it makes you feel when you earn a point, all the cheering, the crowd. It’s awesome.”

Lady Cavalier notes

  • Culver subsequently finished the regular season with losses to sectional rivals Marquette Catholic (25-13, 25-19, 25-10) and Westville (25-20, 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-7) to finish the regular season 16-11.

  • Culver went 4-3 during the regular season against sectional opponents. One of the three losses was to Triton, whom the Lady Cavs drew in the Class 1A, Sectional 50 quarterfinals at Marquette Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Thursday. The Culver-Triton winner will play Oregon-Davis in the semifinals. Culver beat O-D twice during the regular season.

Culver def. LaVille, 25-12, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 15-10

Culver stats

Grace Sieber – 4 kills, 9 digs, 1 assist, 3 serves received; Maegan Pearl – 5 kills, 6 digs, 2 serves received; Brynn Berndt – 15 kills, 4 aces, 1 block, 7 digs, 7 assists, 5 serves received; Avery Garland – 4 kills, 2 aces, 16 digs, 20 serves received; Livi Overmyer – 5 kills, 1 block, 3 dig, 7 serves received; Chloee Danti – 2 aces, 4 digs, 6 assists, 2 serves received; Anna Lewis – 6 aces, 2 digs, 1 serve received; Ashley Pugh – 3 aces, 2 digs, 9 assists, 2 serves received; Taylor Darnell – 10 digs, 1 assist, 16 serves received; Shelby Olivarez – 8 digs, 1 assist, 5 serves received; Willow Harrington – 1 dig

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