After a tough loss
to Lake Central last week, coach Amber McCaw was hoping her team could
rebound against Valparaiso.
“Volleyball is a
game of errors,” McCaw said. “You just have to make the least amount. We’re
going to make mistakes. They just have to have the confidence to know that
they can be down and still come back.”
hardly down during its 25-21, 25-22, 24-26, 25-18 victory over Valparaiso at
home on Tuesday night.
In each of the
first two sets, Chesterton pulled away late. Valparaiso held a brief 21-20
lead in the opening game before Chesterton scored five straight points to
end that set. In the second, Chesterton broke a 12-12 deadlock with a 7-3
scoring run and never looked back.
Just when it seemed
like Chesterton would coast to a victory, though, Valparaiso surged. The
Trojans were within one point of a match victory, leading Valparaiso 24-21
to win the third set. But the Vikings scored the next five points and forced
a fourth set.
“For the most part,
we had good energy on the floor,” McCaw said. “It tapered in the third (set)
and at the beginning of the fourth, but then they rallied around each
Valparaiso built an
early 10-6 lead in the fourth set, but Chesterton battled back to tie the
score at 16 and then pulled away to seal the conference victory.
“I thought we
blocked fairly well,” MCCaw said. “And they made some service errors that
really helped us out.”
McCaw said the
leadership from its veteran players like senior and team captain Vivi
Smilgius will be crucial in those pivotal moments. Smilgius, who had 18
assists and 11 digs in the win, said this victory was much different than
last season’s dramatic, 5-set win over the Trojans’ biggest rivals.
“Last year we went
down 0-2 and came back to win the next three,” she said. “To put things away
(on Tuesday) was good for our confidence and for us to announce our
With only two
seniors on the roster this season, Chesterton will need contributions from
all grades, and the Trojans got that against Valparaiso. Junior setter
Maggie Vrahoretis had a team-high 22 assists along with 12 digs, sophomore
outside hitter Meghan Gaffigan added 17 kills and freshman outside hitter
Katie Nelson had 11 digs and 10 kills.
“Our passing was on
and our defense was on,” Vrahoretis said. “We had really good passes and
then were able to put the ball away.”
25-25-24-25, Valparaiso 22-22-26-18
Sydney Baltus 3 kills, 5 digs; Reese Czarniecki 5 blocks; AJ Devereaux 20
digs; Emma Ekblaw 3 kills, 5 blocks; Meghan Gaffigan 17 kills, 3 digs;
McKenna Guernsey 2 digs; Katie Nelson 10 kills, 11 digs; Vivi Smilgius 4
aces, 18 assists, 11 digs; Greta Tilden 15 digs; Maggie Vrahoretis 5 aces, 5
kills, 22 assists, 12 digs; Maddie Wagner 7 kills, 6 blocks, 4 digs.