Chesterton's pair of five-game battles with Portage in the regular season,
logic dictated that the Trojans' match with the Indians in Thursday's
quarterfinals of the Class 4A Chesterton Sectional would be another close
So much for
The Trojans made
quick work of the Indians, 25-17, 25-15, 25-17, to advance to a semifinal
clash with Valparaiso on Saturday morning.
came out with a lot of energy," senior Claire Holba said. "Considering the
fact that both times we went to five games, losing the first and winning the
second, but not by a lot, we knew we'd have to play harder."
Holba and Katie
Urycki led a potent attack with 12 kills apiece that kept the Indians
(11-20) in retreat all match.
"We had a idea
what we wanted to do," Chesterton coach TR Harlan said. "We've got some
really capable hitters in Claire, Katie, Lydia (Gill) and Emily (Nix), but
if you don't pass, you can't hit. The most important thing was we passed
well, probably as well as we have all year. We were able to utilize what we
do best. I've been on the other side of that where a team starts to hit the
ball at you a lot and there's not a lot you can do offensively. When we
didn't get big swings, we were able to dictate what we wanted to do by where
we hit the ball."
attack kept Portage from ever getting anything going from its side.
"All of our
hitters were really on," Holba said, "It was a night where we worked on some
different shots because we knew they were going to be open. Our passing and
setting were great so we could get those hits. It was a good team effort."
Urycki and Holba with eight kills. Kate Nowak registered 35 assists and
Katie Osborn, who moved into the libero spot a few weeks ago, came up with
20 digs. Another sophomore, Shelby Ruffner, filled for Riley Taubert up
front, and was solid setting up the block, according to Harlan.
"We made some
changes and we've just gotten a lot better," Harlan said.
previous outcomes, Portage coach Erin Plumley was expecting more of the
"We expected a
battle," Plumley said. "It just happened to be their night. We match up
really well against them. We just had trouble adjusting to their block. When
our passing was there, our hitting and setting weren't, and when our hitting
was on, our passing was a little shaky. Chesterton came out strong."
Not that the
Trojans (21-11) needed an extra boost, but a boisterous student section that
included t-shirts such as 'TR for Prez' gave them an additional emotional
nice to be home," Harlan said. "When you have those little lulls in a match,
the crowd can help you get through it. They were great."
It could prove
to be a help when the Trojans go up against the Vikings, 25-17, 25-18, 25-22
winners over Michigan City. Valpo has beaten Chesterton twice. Crown Point
meets LaPorte at 11 a.m., with the Porter County rivals to follow. The
championship is at 7 p.m.
"You want to be playing your best at the end of the year and we are right
now," Harlan said. "It was as good a performance for three total games that
we've probably had all year."
Harlan and the team all wore pink shoe laces to show their support of breast
Chesterton 25-25-25, Portage 17-15-17
Portage -- Alicia Ciesielski 7 kills; Haley Snyder 5 kills, 3 digs, 2 aces,
2 blocks; Cloe Cerda 4 kills, 3 digs; Kacie McGuire 3 kills, 7 assists; Brit
Doll 4 digs; Tina Golden 13 assists.
Chesterton -- Katie Urycki 12 kills, 6 digs, 3 block kills; Michaela Raffin
3 digs; Alyssa Ham 2 digs; Korelle Melcarek 12 digs; Katie Osborn 20 digs, 2
service aces; Emily Nix 3 kills, 3 block kills; Kate Nowak 35 assists, 2
service aces, 4 digs; Claire Holba 12 kills, 2 digs; Shelby Ruffner 1 kill,
2 block kills; Lydia Gill 8 kills, 2 digs.
RECORDS -- Portage 11-20, Chesterton 21-11.