SOUTH WHITLEY — The Whitko Lady Wildcat volleyball team decided to take the long route to winning Tuesday night against the Wawasee Lady Warriors, dragging the night out to a long five-game battle.
After easily winning the first two games, the Lady Warriors came back and won the third and fourth games, bringing the night to a fifth and final battle, to which Whitko won.
“They picked up steam the second half of the match, we knew that would happen, we just needed to pick up our play,” Whitko Head Coach Doug West said.
It took until the final game for the Lady ’Cats to step up their game and finish the match with a win.
After easily winning the first two games, each at 25-19, Whitko probably thought picking up the final win would be easy.
“They’re a good team, they played better as the match went on,” West said.
Wawasee began to gain momentum at the end of the second game, when they outscored the Lady ‘Cats 4-15 in the final volleys of the game. Though Whitko still came out with the win, the Lady Warriors had a lot of momentum on their side.
At 24-12, Whtiko allowed the Lady Warriors to score seven consecutive points before winning the game to a net serve by Wawasee.
“There was no way that should’ve happened,” West commented about the end of game two.
The Lady ‘Cats would not have won the second game without the serving help of senior Danielle Rose. Rose gave the Lady Wildcats a good lead by serving for 10 consecutive points, putting Whitko up 16-5 halfway through game two. Rose also brought in three aces and three kills.
Stephanie Camden posted some helpful statistics as well, with 24 digs and three aces.
“She’s our No. 1 defensive player,” West noted. “She’s on the court five rotations out of six. She’s a great leader and just a good ball handler.”
The third and fourth game had identical scores, with the Lady Wildcats losing 24-26 in long point-for-point games. There were 10 lead changes during the third and fourth games.
Wawasee took advantage of times when Whitko’s Rachelle Kessie was out of the game, picking up six consecutive points on one instance.
Kessie was a strong defender for the Lady ‘Cats with four blocks. She was strong offensively as well with nine kills.
The final game was a much different story than the two previous. Whitko didn’t allow Wawasee to gain a lead on them throughout the entire game and won in a close 15-12 game.
Karissa Olinske had a strong kill right to the middle of all six Lady Warriors, giving Whitko the energy to put away the match.
“She’s a nice attacker for us,” West said.
Olinske worked on all sides of the court with 17 digs and five kills.
“We’re trying to learn how to close out close games,” West commented. “We need great rallies at the end of the game. We tend to be a little bit hesitant.”