Shawe’s Emmaline Leatherman (17) plays the ball at the net during the Hilltoppers’ sectional loss to Lanesville on Thursday. (Photo by Stephanie Hellmann)
Shawe’s Emmaline Leatherman (17) plays the ball at the net during the Hilltoppers’ sectional loss to Lanesville on Thursday. (Photo by Stephanie Hellmann)
SELLERSBURG — Shawe’s slow start in the first two sets were just too big of a hole to dig out of as the Hilltoppers saw their volleyball season come to a close with 3-1 loss to Lanesville in a Class A Sectional 61 at Rock Creek on Thursday.

The Hilltoppers lost the first two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-15 before rallying to win the third set 25-23. But Lanesville picked up a close 26-24 win in the fourth set to close out the win.

“We certainly weren’t playing our best volleyball there. We just had too many mistakes, but they fought till the very end with everything they had, and it’s hard to be upset with their effort,” Shawe coach Jeff Lawson said. “Those girls have wanted to practice all season, they’ve adapted to the style of volleyball I want, and they’re excited about it. We should have had a few more wins, but they’re young and the I like where the program is headed."

Shawe got off to a great start in the first set, building a 17-13 lead and forcing Lanesville to call a timeout. But that's when the wheels fell off as the Eagles went on a 12-4 run to win the set 25-21.

The second set was simply a disaster for the Hilltoppers, who never got into any type of groove and forcing Lawson to burn both of his timeouts as Shawe found itself down 16-7. The Hilltoppers mounted a small rally but not enough as they dropped the set 25-15.

The third set proved to be Shawe's best of the night. The Hilltoppers came out on fire and built a 15-9 lead. Lanesville still had momentum and cut the lead to 20-17 before Shawe pulled out the 25-23 win.

Shawe virtually controlled the entire fourth set and appeared to be ready to force a fifth but self-inflicted wounds did in the Hilltoppers as they lost five points on missed serves which kept the Eagles in the match. Lanesville eventually made the right moves over the final two serves to pull out the 26-24 win and the match.

“I feel firmly that we were the better team, but you have to go out and play," Lawson said. "We just had too many errors and we missed five-plus serves in the fourth set which just really hurt us."

Abigail Hill, one of two seniors along with Phoebe Grote, said that even with the loss, she felt the team fought hard and she enjoyed her senior campaign.

“We had a few errors here and there, I felt like we could have won, but I love this team, and we had a great season,” Hill said. “Having a new coach was different but we really came together this year as a team and had a really fun year."

Emmaline Leatherman went 16-for-18 serving with three aces, 12 kills and 18 digs while Lina Leatherman had 20 kills for the Hilltoppers. Taylor Barron was 18-for-20 serving with two aces and seven kills, Grote was 11-for-13 serving with 15 digs, and Hill was 10-of-11 serving with an ace.

Shawe will say goodbye to Hill and Grote to graduation, but the Hilltoppers return all of their hitters from this team and with a very good group of eighth graders coming up, the future is bright for the Hilltopper program. Shawe ends its season with a 10-15 record, while Lanesville will play South Central in the semifinals today.