Times Sports Editor
Clay County has been well represented in the sport of volleyball in recent years with both Northview and Clay City High Schools boasting stellar records and the Eels coming off a sectional and regional championship last season.
As part of those prep accomplishments, both schools have sent athletes into the collegiate ranks where the success has continued.
The Vincennes Trailblazers program includes Northview graduate Kaylee Clark along with Clay City alum, Lynsey Higgins.
The squad moved into the top-10 national rankings last week after knocking off Div. II No. 7 Owens and Kellogg over the weekend. Competing in the Showdown At The Wabash Invitational, Vincennes recorded a 25-6, 25-8, 25-10 win over Kellogg and then followed with a 20-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-22 win against Owens, a team that defeated Vincennes last year. The No. 8 Trailblazers went 3-1 last weekend and gave coach Brittany Harry her 100th win while improving to 22-7.
Clark, a sophomore with the Trailblazers, recorded 19 digs and two aces against Owens and Higgins recorded seven kills versus Kellogg earlier in the day. Last weekend, Higgins provided five kills against No. 7 Lincoln Land and six kills versus Allen County. Clark contributed three aces and eight digs versus Allen County. In a match against Kaskaskia, Higgins rang up 11 kills.
"Kaylee and Lynsey have both been a joy to have on this team the past two seasons," Vincennes coach Brittany Harry said. "They both came from good high school programs and they both come from great families."
Clark, a defensive specialist for the Sycamores, has recorded 306 digs this season in 25 matches and has averaged 3.60 digs per set for the Trailblazers.
Higgins has played in 16 matches for VU this year and has compiled 22 kills and has scored 32 points.
"Lynsey is one of those athletes that you just can't praise enough. She does everything you ask of her in the gym, in the classroom and in life. Lynsey has the biggest heart on this team and her positive attitude is infectious with the girls," Harry said. "We have used Lynsey in a variety of roles this season, most recently in the middle this past weekend vs. Kellogg where she had seven kills on only nine attempts good for a .777 hitting percentage that match. We have also used Lynsey in a serving specialist role and also as a backup to the outside hitters.
"Both of these players are really what our program is all about: hard work, heart and determination," Harry added of the pair. "They epitomize what a VU Volleyball player is all about."
The Indiana State Sycamores haven't had as much success as a team in comparison to Vincennes, but it hasn't stopped freshman Ashlen Buck from making an instant impact on the squad.
Buck, a 2012 Northview graduate, has played in all 17 matches for the 3-14 Sycamores. She leads the team in digs at 3.58 per set and has a total of 247 for the season. She has also compiled 31 assists and is tied for the team lead with 14 aces and has a serving percentage of .938, which is second on the team.