SOUTH WHITLEY — The Whitko Lady Wildcat volleyball team used a dominating performance at the net to take game one of their Three Rivers Conference match with the visiting Tippecanoe Valley Lady Vikings.
Unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats the Vikings came back to take the next three games to hand Whitko a 25-20, 14,-25, 23-25, 21-25 loss Wednesday night.
With the exception of game two, all the games were very closely played, with neither team able to establish a large lead.
Game one was a tight affair for the first half of the contest with the Lady Wildcats using blocks from Rachelle Kessie and Meghan Peters and two straight kills by Audra Day to keep the contest close until the visiting Lady Viking took a 14-11 lead on two Lady Wildcat errors and a Tippecanoe Valley kill.
The Wildcats mounted a comeback behind strong serving by Stephanie Camden. Running off seven straight points including a service ace by Camden and two kills and a block by Kessie, the Lady Wildcats took a 21-17 lead. A Lady Viking hitting error gave the Lady Wildcats game one by a 25-20 score.
In game two, Tippecanoe Valley ran out to a 10-point lead, 21-11. A tip by Peters and a kill by Kessie cut the lead to 22-14, but that was as close as the Lady Wildcats got. A hitting error and a Valley kill gave the Lady Vikings game two 25-14.
Game three returned to the close play that marked the first game, with the Lady Vikings taking a 13-10 lead before the host Wildcats closed the gap. A kill by Whitko junior Karissa Olinske knotted the score at 15-15. Neither team took any lead greater than two after that, with four ties including a final one at 23-23.
A Tippecanoe Valley tip and a Whitko serve reception error gave the visitors game three 25-23 and a 2-1 edge in games.
The Wildcats took a 4-1 lead in game four only to see the Vikings come back to tie the score at 10-10. From there until the final points of the game neither team took a lead of greater than two points and for a majority of the time the lead wavered at either one point for Whitko or a point for Valley.
With the score tied at 21-21, a Valley kill, a Whitko net violation, and two straight kills by Viking senior Chelsea Hoffman closed out the game 25-21 and the match three games to one in favor of the visiting Lady Vikings.
“It comes down to who is more aggressive in attacking at the end of a rally,” Wildcat head coach Doug West said. “We did it well at times and they did it well at times.
“It was a very close, well-played match. We played hard, and we didn’t choke or play not-to-lose toward the end of the last two games, but they just came away with some good attacks to finish off rallies and that was the difference.”
The varsity win made it a sweep for the Lady Vikings as the Tippecanoe Valley JV took a 25-19, 25-16 win and the Valley freshman claimed a 25-12, 25-24 win.