Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Trojans pound Portage in sectional opener

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By Chris Riley

After 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 one.

So much for logic.

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.

"We definitely 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."

The Trojans' 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."

Gill backed 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.

Given the previous outcomes, Portage coach Erin Plumley was expecting more of the same.

"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 charge.

"It's always 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 cancer awareness.

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.


Posted 10/22/2010




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