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West Lafayette volleyball answers wake-up call against Twin Lakes

October 21, 2012
West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School

West Lafayette successfully defended its Class 3A Maconaquah Sectional volleyball title Saturday night by defeating Twin Lakes in the finals, 27-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-13.

West Side will play at home Tuesday in the regional final against South Bend St. Joseph.

The Red Devils had to fend off a Twin Lakes team that nearly beat them in the first game and came right back to whip West Side in the second game. It wasn’t until the third game where West Lafayette finally started to click, running off to leads to clinch the match.

“We played against Twin Lakes early in the season and played really well against them,” West Lafayette coach Chad Marshall said. “They’ve watched us and threw balls in areas they knew we would struggle with. Once we figured out what they were doing and adjusted on our side, we got comfortable and played better.”

Twin Lakes led most of the tight first game as both teams battled through eight ties and five lead changes. A Brittany Connell kill gave Twin Lakes a 20-17 lead before the Red Devils mounted a rally. A Sarah Collicott ace and a Katy Brose kill gave West Side a hard-fought 27-25 win.

But Twin Lakes turned things around in the second game, bouncing back from a 20-17 deficit to outscore the Red Devils, 8-2. Lauhren Pickett finished the game with two kills to give the Indians a 25-22 win.

“The girls just came out and played really hard and knew what to do,” Twin Lakes coach Tim Kingery said. “We tried a couple of defenses, and the girls on the back row did a really good job and hit the ball well. We made some mental mistakes in the first game that prevented us from having them down 2-0. That’s how the ball bounces sometimes.”

The second-game loss seemed to be a wake-up for West Lafayette, which took command of the third and fourth games. West Side led by as many as seven (20-13) in Game 3.

“I thought this year was a lot harder for us to win sectionals, so it was exciting,” said Brose, who led the Red Devils with 20 kills. “We didn’t play with a lot of energy in the first two games. I don’t know if we thought we expected to win or what, but we didn’t play our game. In the fourth game, I think it hit us that all we had to do is win that game and we win sectionals. We got momentum on our side and attacked after that.”

Behind four Collicott kills and two aces by Baker, the Red Devils raced out to an 8-0 lead in Game 4.

“I think it just kind of clicked for us,” Baker said. “I think our passers and hitters just all came together in the fourth game. Twin Lakes had a lot of energy in those first two games. It really helped us when we picked up our energy and intensity.”

Pickett led Twin Lakes with 11 kills, while Chloe McAchren had 30 assists.

In Saturday morning’s semifinal, West Lafayette defeated another Hoosier Conference foe, Benton Central, 25-12, 25-20, 15-25, 25-16.

“We knew that Benton Central was a good team,” Marshall said. “It’s great to come out with a great start, but there are times we have to focus and play our game on our side of the net.”

West Side scored the first five points in the first game and expanded its lead as the game went on. The Bison, trying to get untracked, led briefly in the second game, and after trailing 22-14, staged a rally, scoring four consecutive points before falling.

“Losing the second game was very challenging for us because a lot of it is just mental,” Benton Central coach Mindy Nichols said. “You know what you need to do, but getting yourself to do it is just challenging. The only disappointment is not having the victory. I’m very proud of all of my girls and my six seniors. I thought they played with heart.”

The Bison fought back in the third game, outscoring the Red Devils 10-1 to close out the set after West Side trimmed an early lead to 15-14. Seniors Cassidy Deno and Caitlyn Tolen led the charge with several key kills and blocks that allowed the Bison to hold on to the momentum.

“We made some unforced errors in that third game, and it cost us,” Marshall said. “If you make those types of errors over the stretch of the game against Benton Central, they’re going to beat you. It was really important for us to refocus and regain some momentum in the fourth game.”

In the fourth game, the Red Devils turned the tables on Benton Central, closing the set with a 9-3 run to win the game and match. Seniors Collicott, Brose and Baker all contributed big kills in the run. Collicott added three server aces in the run as well.

Twin Lakes won the day’s first sectional semifinal, beating Western 25-15, 25-13, 25-14. Morgan Gutwein led the Indians with 10 kills while McAchren had 25 assists and eight aces. Brittany Connell topped Twin Lakes defensive efforts with nine digs.

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