Finals appearance powers Lady Eagles

   SYRACUSE — Columbia City and Whitko volleyball teams traveled to Wawasee Saturday and each loaded the bus with opposite outcomes for the day.
   The Lady Eagles had a victorious day, leaving the tournament 2-1 and championship runner-up.
   Whitko on the other hand, was unable to pull out a win for the day at 0-3.
   Columbia City and Whitko kicked off the day with a match against each other.
   With an 8 a.m. start, Whitko must have been the early birds, picking up a quick win in the first game against the Lady Eagles, 25-14.
   Columbia City turned the match around, picking up wins in the next two games and winning the match 25-16, 15-10.
   Freshman star Kalisha Goree had 31 digs against the Wildcats and senior Hailey Woll defended the frontline with 10 blocks.
   The Lady Eagles then took on Wawasee and Culver, knocking them out in two quick games and leaving them undefeated in pool play at 3-0.
   This brought Columbia City to the championship game against the Garrett Railroaders.
   In two hard-fought games, the Lady Railroaders came out victorious winning 25-16, 25-17.
   “We didn’t play bad the last game, we just didn’t play as well, they should be proud,” Columbia City head coach Trish Hinen said.
   It was a team effort against Garrett with Samara Qureshi and Jenee Schneider picking up a combined 46 assists.
   Goree ended the day well with one ace, seven kills, and 15 digs to earn a selection as one of the best players of the tournament.
   “She played really well, she got voted all-tournament team and she’s just a freshman,” Hinen said.
   The other side of the gym had opposite results.
   Whitko was unable to pick up a win, but was still able to walk out of the gym with their heads held high.
   “We served well and we had individual players who did some great things, we just need everybody to play hard,” Whitko head coach Doug West said.
   Rachelle Kessie dominated the frontline with 10 kills and 11 blocks for the day.
   Meghan Peters had nearly all the assists for the Lady ’Cats with 45, with the only other assists coming from Karissa Olinske (2) and Audra Day (1).
   Both teams used the invitational to prepare for post-season play.
   “If we take what we’ve done today and build on it, we should be set for sectional,” Hinen said.