Madison’s (from left) Taylor Harsin, Jenna Rohrer, Gracie True, Lexi Sullivan and Chloe Preocanin celebrate after the Cubs beat Salem in the opening round of the sectional on Tuesday. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Madison’s (from left) Taylor Harsin, Jenna Rohrer, Gracie True, Lexi Sullivan and Chloe Preocanin celebrate after the Cubs beat Salem in the opening round of the sectional on Tuesday. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
SELLERSBURG — It took about half a set for Madison to find its footing, but once the Cubs settled in, it was lights-out for Salem.

Madison rallied from a 14-5 deficit in the opening set to sweep Salem in three, 26-24, 25-16, 25-19, in the opening round of the Class 3A Volleyball Sectional at Silver Creek on Tuesday.

The Cubs weren't very sharp in those opening minutes and let Salem's hitters dictate the action. But a timeout by coach Camille Crim settled the team down and after coming back to win the opener, they weren't touched in rolling to victories in the next two for the match win.

"We have a really mentally tough and hard-working team this year and I knew that they had the confidence to do it. We like to fight," Crim said. "I do get a little nervous when we are up two games and we start to feel relaxed and let our guard down. Today they started to do that but they put right back up and finished strong. I'm really proud of them."

Madison (10-15) could do little right in those opening minutes as Salem dominated every phase of the game. The Lions led 3-1 early then used an 8-1 run to blow open a 14-5 lead and seemingly take control.

Crim's timeout actually came three points before the run finally ended — on a Salem net violation no less — and Madison went to work. Taylor Harsin took the ball at the service line and set the tone, collecting three aces and serving the Cubs to six-straight points to pull her team within 14-13.

The set remained tight after that with Madison taking its first lead at 19-18 but neither getting too far out ahead. Salem (13-6) had a chance to end the set up 24-23 but a bad hit ended those hopes. The Cubs then got back-to-back kills by Jenna Rohrer to pull out the victory.

With the emotional win at their back, the Cubs rolled out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and never looked back, taking leads of 9-3, 15-5 and 19-10 before settling into the 25-16 win.

"I think they let us get to them and they started falling apart," Crim said. "We were so excited and confident going into game two that we were able to stay strong as a team."

The third set was much more competitive and it wasn't until a long serving run by Brooklyn Cornelius allowed the Cubs to open up a 14-9 lead. But the set remained close with Salem trailing only 20-18 at one point, before Madison closed on a 5-1 run to seal the match win.

Madison's hitters were strong throughout the match, collecting 30 kills on 102 attempts, but it was the serving that proved to be the difference. The Cubs missed only three serves all night and picked up 12 aces over the three sets to claim the win.

"That's something we've worked on all year and it's nice to see it finally coming together," Crim said of the serving. "Even today, before we left we served for 10 or 15 minutes just trying to make sure we were ready before we got here."

Five of the Cubs' seven regulars collected double-digit serves on the night with Harsin going 15-of-17 with six aces, Chloe Preocanin 14-of-15 with three aces, Cornelius and Gracie True each going 13-for-13 with one ace, and Lexi Sullivan going 11-for-11 with an ace.

Preocanin also had 10 kills and 10 digs, Kallie Eder had eight kills, Harsin had seven kills and 11 digs, True had 22 assists and 10 digs, and Cornelius had 15 digs.

Madison advances to the semifinal round where it will play tourney favorite Silver Creek at 11 a.m. The Dragons (23-8) rolled over Charlestown 25-14, 25-9, 25-6 in the other match on Tuesday.