Rivalry goes to high stakes

   AKRON — Columbia City and Whitko, volleyball teams that are just miles apart, took the road for Tippecanoe Valley Thursday night for a four-game battle.
   The Lady Wildcats showed their determination after suffering two previous losses to Columbia City, but faced a 3-1 defeat.
   “We knew they would be out to get us”, Lady Eagle Head Coach Trish Hinen said.
   The beginning of game one was a close battle, with the score tied 7-7.
   Columbia City finished the game out scoring the Lady Wildcats 11-2, after Kalisha Goree sparked the team with one of her 12 kills.
   Goree also had two aces.
   The final score of game one was 25-14.
   With the sectional title on their minds, the Lady Wildcats jumped out to a quick 8-1 lead over Columbia City in game two.
   The Lady Eagles tried to battle back by scoring seven consecutive points, but it wasn’t enough to defeat  Whitko’s determination.
   The Lady Wildcats took a 25-20 win in the second game.
   “We played hard and worked hard and got ourselves in a winning position,” Whitko Head Coach Doug West said.
   Game three was nearly an opposite of game two, with the Lady Eagles holding a 10-2 lead over the Whitko.
   Lady Wildcat powerhouse Rachelle Kessie attempted three strong kills in a row, only to be returned by Columbia City.
   Kessie had four blocks on the night.
   With the momentum swinging their way, the Lady Eagles stole a quick 25-11 win.
   The fourth and final game was a close fight, with four lead changes and neither team gaining a lead of more than three.
   Lady Wildcat Stephanie Camden carried Whitko through the fourth game, with 33 digs and two aces.
   “She’s solid as a rock, mentally and emotionally, she’s a great leader and she showed that tonight,” West said.
   At 22-22 in the fourth game, Columbia City’s defense pulled through, not allowing Whitko to score.
   “They had good ball control and some real determined defense,” West said.
   The final score of game four was 25-22, putting the Lady Eagles up 3-1 for the match and ending the careers of four Whitko seniors.
   “We’ve got four great seniors that will be hard to replace,” West said. “They’re real dedicated hard workers and leaders on the court.”
   Columbia City will be making the trip back up to Valley to take on West Noble in the semifinal round.
   “We’re going to play scrappy and play hard, that’s what we do,” Hinen said.