ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
NCC ATHLETE OF
PREP VOLLEYBALL: Berries clear first hurdle
August 15, 2012North Central Conference
by Beau Wicker
Pharos-TribuneFor Logansport senior Kiley Victor, a win over McCutcheon was especially sweet.
The Mavericks caused Victor and her teammates a lot of heartache last year in her two sports, volleyball and girls basketball, when they swept the season series including wins in the sectional finals of both sports.
But the Berries and Victor had the answer in Tuesday’s volleyball season opener, knocking off the visiting Mavericks in four games, 25-12, 16-25, 25-11, 25-23.
It was Logan’s first win over McCutcheon in either volleyball or girls basketball since Victor’s sophomore season in volleyball two years ago.
“It feels awesome, because in basketball, too, we’ve been battling McCutcheon. They’re a big rival,” Victor said. “We were all pumped for the game [Tuesday], and I think we came out and showed that.”
Victor finished with a match-high 17 kills including the one that ended the match during a thrilling fourth game. She added six digs.
Senior Alaina Page played through a knee strain and added 11 kills and two aces.
The Berries came out strong and put together a nearly flawless first game while the Mavericks played a mistake-filled set. The roles were reversed in game two as the Mavs evened up the match. Logan did score six straight points near the end of the second game before dominating the third set, scoring the final eight points in a fireworks show with kills by Page, Syd Bullard and Nakeya Penny and an ace by Katie Easter.
In the back-and-forth game four, Logan trailed 19-16 before ending on a 9-4 run, led by kills by Page, Penny, Bullard and Victor and aces by Page and Penny.
Page talked about the mental aspect of the match.
“We played pretty well the first game, came out strong. Then the second game we kind of relaxed a little bit and weren’t too excited about stuff. The third game we came out strong again and were getting excited about everything, and that’s how we win games is getting excited and having fun playing. So if we do that every game then we can beat a lot of teams,” she said.
The versatile 6-footer, who plans to play at the University of Southern Indiana, also discussed her role for the Berries.
“I like setting, that’s what I’m going to work on in college. But I do like hitting, it’s kind of my stronger thing, I’ve done hitting since third grade and I just started setting freshman year. So I’m going to work on both and do what’s best for the team,” she said.
Bullard had 10 kills and a team-high eight digs. Penny posted four kills, six digs and a block. Easter, who played libero, added seven digs and a team-high four aces. Bailey Kelley dished 29 assists, and Hannah Jones added three. Kailey Vernon collected seven digs. Jen Crafford had two kills and two blocks. Kelley, Jones and Erin Samuels each added an ace.
Logan coach Jon Vernon was pleased with how his squad played in his debut as head coach. He subbed liberally in the contest and utilized 13 players.
“We put in a lot of work this summer and worked really hard. If we would have came out flat [Tuesday] it might have hurt our season. But the kids came out ready to play, they were excited and we played pretty well,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of experience. We lost Katie [Champion] and we lost McKenzie Mills, but we’ve got everybody else back. The JV players coming up to the varsity are good players too, and they responded and played well. They just got after it. When we needed points or a defensive stop, we came up with it.”
McCutcheon is dealing with heavy losses to graduation. Mavs coach Travis Fuller said his squad has a lot of talent but is inexperienced.
“We do have a really, really young team, a lot of sophomores. We have two that are returning with varsity time, so a lot of it is going to be learning how to win. We’re just not there yet,” he said.
“It’s funny how you start off with Logansport and we’ll most likely see them at the end at our sectional. It’ll be two different type of teams by the time we get to sectionals.”