NHC title in sight

   COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Lady Eagles put their perfect Northeast Hoosier Conference record on the line Tuesday night against the DeKalb Lady Barons.
   Despite being down two games to none and trailing 2-0 in the third game, the Lady Eagles came away from the Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium with their NHC record still intact by virtue of a 24-26, 27-29, 25-20, 25-21, 15-8 come-from-behind five game marathon victory.
   “We had a chance to win both of the first two games,” Columbia City head coach Trish Hinen said. “We had game point in both games and we made errors that cost us. We really took ourselves out in both of those games.”
   In game one the Eagles held five- and six-point leads throughout most of the contest, stretching the lead to 22-13 on three straight tips by the Eagle front line of Maddie Hinen and freshman Kalisha Goree combined with two DeKalb hitting errors.
   The Lady Barons rattled off six straight points before two Goree kills gave Columbia City a game-point situation at 24-19.  A service error by the Lady Eagles, two DeKalb kills and a Lady Eagle net violation knotted the score at 24-24 before two straight blocks by DeKalb junior Rachel Dincoff gave the Lady Barons game one 26-24.
   Game two followed the same pattern with the Lady Eagles jumping out to a 7-0 lead on kills by Hinen and Tabi Worden.
   The Lady Barons gradually worked their way back into the game, tying the score at 17-17 on a Dincoff service ace. A DeKalb hitting error and a Paige Moore kill gave the Lady Eagles a 24-23 lead with a chance to take game two, but a passing error tied the score and the two teams went back and forth until the Barons closed out game two 29-27 on a kill and a tip.
   After trailing 2-0 in game three the Lady Eagles came back to take a 10-6 lead on a kill by senior Hailey Woll. The Lady Eagles never relinquished the lead in game three, even though the Lady Barons closed to within one at 13-12.
   The Lady Eagles got a kill on a tip by Goree and a block by Moore to go up 16-12. Columbia City maintained that lead closing out game three 25-20 on a block by Goree.
   Game four was a back-and- forth affair in the early going until the Lady Barons established a four-point lead at 16-12.
   A tip and a kill by Woll and another kill by Goree, who led the Lady Eagles with 19 for the match, gave Columbia City the lead at 18-17. The Lady Eagles lead stayed at one until with the score at 22-21, a Moore tip and two DeKalb errors gave the host Eagles game four, 25-21.
   In the fifth and deciding game the Lady Eagles never trailed, taking a 4-1 lead. The Eagles extended that lead to 8-4 on a dump shot by Woll. With the score at 8-5 the Lady Eagles ran off four straight points, all on DeKalb errors to take a 12-5 lead.
   A tip by Madi Sjahfiedin and a kill by Goree put the Eagles at game point 14-8. Moore put the finishing touches on the Eagle comeback with a kill out of the middle to give the Lady Eagles the deciding game by a 15-8 score.
   “Our kids want a shot at a conference title,” Hinen said, “And that’s what its coming down to.”
   The Columbia City JV dropped a hard-fought 24-25, 21-25 decision to the Baron reserves, while the Lady Eagle C team fought back from a one-game deficit and a 5-0 hole in the deciding third game to take a 23-25, 25-20, 15-12 win over the Lady Barons. The win boosts the C team’s record to 9-2 on the  season.
   The Lady Eagles close out the home portion of their NHC season Thursday night when they take on the East Noble Lady Knights in the annual senior night match.