Chesterton Tribune

 
 

CHS volleyball team completes comeback against Valparaiso

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By Alex Daniels

The Chesterton volleyball team scored the first seven points of the evening on Thursday against rival Valparaiso as well as the final two points of the night.

What happened in the other 213 points of the match contains the story of an improbable comeback that could be just what the Trojans need to spur on a deep postseason run as Sectionals are less than a month away.

Chesterton dodged defeat when it was down to its final point on four different occasions, including twice in the fifth game, and the Trojans pulled off a furious rally to defeat the Vikings 23-25, 19-25, 26-24, 25-23, 17-15.

“This win came from the heart,” Chesterton senior Katie Urycki said. “That’s the only way that something like this would’ve happened.”

The Trojans displayed plenty of heart, but the senior-laden squad also displayed plenty of perseverance, a trait that coach TR Harlan has seen a lot of in recent days. On Tuesday, the Trojans were facing elimination against Lake Central before rallying to win in five games against the Indians. Harlan’s squad didn’t quit on the road in St. John and they certainly didn’t quit at home in front of the biggest crowd of the year.

“For the first time all year, I thought the seniors started to play with a sense of urgency and that really started on Tuesday against Lake Central,” Harlan said. “They always thought there was tomorrow, that they would do things tomorrow. They are realizing that now is the time.”

The Trojans came out of the gates with a forceful determination, scoring the first seven points of the night and having a rowdy student section screaming at the top of their lungs. Just like the football team received incredible support from the student body last Friday in its 48-14 win over the Vikings, the volleyball team had plenty of students on hand on Thursday, many of them football players who chose to watch the volleyball match as a group instead of sequestering themselves before Friday’s homecoming game against Portage.

“I was so jealous of (the football team) for getting that win on Friday,” Urycki said. “I wanted that same experience and it feels so good that we were able to get that. I can’t say enough about the fan support that we had tonight.”

The rowdy fans almost left the arena early as the Vikings had a chance to end the match in three games when Valparaiso took a 24-22 lead in the third game. The Trojans battled back and scored the next four points to pull out a 26-24 win and force a fourth game.

The comeback attempt wouldn’t get any easier as a back-and-forth match led both teams to a 23-23 tie before the Trojans closed strong and scored the final two points, forcing a fifth and deciding game.

“I told the girls before the fifth game to look at the crowd and I told them that they’d already won,” Harlan said. “You’ve got to play near perfect to beat Valparaiso and we did enough things right to do that. They are the best team in the area and you’ve got to play a great game to come out ahead.”

For as much work as the Trojans did to force the fifth game, it nearly went up in smoke when the Vikings jumped out to a 6-3 lead and seemingly had all the momentum. The Trojans continued to show resolve and moments later it was tied at six points apiece and then the teams began trading points until the Vikings were back on top with a chance to win the match.

Twice in the final moments of the match the Trojans had to survive match point situations just to continue the fifth game. Chesterton turned the tables on the Vikings by scoring the final two points, the last of which came when senior setter Jennifer Williams dropped a harmless shot over the net and the outstretched arms of the Valparaiso frontline.

Silence took over the crowd for half a second as the reality of the improbable comeback began to set in on everyone. As the shocked Valparaiso players went through the motions of the postgame hand shake, the Chesterton players, led by the seniors, floated through the line as tears began to stream down their faces and fans began to stream out of the stands.

“This is the first time that I’ve ever beaten Valparaiso,” Urycki said. “No matter what happens the rest of the season, I will always remember this night.”

Urycki shined from beginning to end on Thursday night, finishing the match with a game-high 18 kills and 22 digs. Her performance left Harlan shaking his head at the end of the marathon match.

“It’s been a long time since I felt like we had a difference maker out there and I thought Katie Urycki was a huge difference in the match tonight,” Harlan said. “She made so many of the big plays throughout the night.”

Harlan got strong performances from his entire team on Thursday, including an inspired effort from Sara Tarnowski. The junior libero struggled in the middle portion of the match, but returned with a fervor in the closing points, registering 14 digs against a powerful hitting Valparaiso team. Shelby Ruffner had 12 kills and Emily Nix added 10 kills for the Trojans.

“Since Tuesday we’ve really been focusing on playing hard,” Urycki said. “Win or lose, our focus has been to play every point until the end. It’s starting to set in that the end is coming soon enough and our focus is to keep playing hard for as long as we can.”

Chesterton 23-19-26-25-17,

Valparaiso 25-25-24-23-15

AT CHESTERTON

Chesterton -- Jennifer Williams 5 kills, 27 assists, 13 digs; Katie Urycki 18 kills, 22 digs; Sara TarnowskI 14 digs; Emily Nix 10 kills, 3 block kills; Jordyn Moleski 15 digs; Jessica Urycki 8 kills, 3 digs; Shelby Ruffner 12 kills, 5 block kills; Ariane Mahaffey 5 kills, 25 assists, 3 service aces, 16 digs.

Valparaiso -- Kelsie Schultz 14 kills, 21 digs, 3 service aces; Anna Walls 17 digs; Mary Bobos 20 digs; Noelle Eveland 13 kills; Kate Bontrager 12 kills; Tarrah Lasky 36 assists, 15 digs; Timi Stascak 7 kills.

Records: Chesterton 12-5 (6-3 DAC), Valparaiso 16-6 (7-2 DAC).

Junior Varsity

Chesterton 19-25-15,

Valparaiso 25-22-13

The Chesterton junior varsity improved to 13-8 on the year with a come-from-behind 19-25, 25-22, 15-13 victory over Valparaiso on Thursday.

Offensively, Aubrey Nagedeman led the Trojans with five kills, while Samantha Stueber had four kills. Shelby Snyder tallied three kills in the win.

Snyder and Nagdeman both dished out nine assists, while Nagdeman also had a team-best three service aces.

Defensively, Emily Parkerson had 13 digs with Allie Sink adding 12 and Ashley Hecimovich recorded 10. Snyder and Nagdeman both had eight digs.

Freshman

Valparaiso 25-25,

Chesterton 22-20

The Chesterton freshman dropped a 25-22, 25-20 decision to Valparaiso on Thursday.

Offensively, Taylor Eaton and Taylor Rodriguez each had three kills. Kaylee Goin and Elena Azcona tallied two kills each.

Caitlyn Toth dished out a team-best five assists.

Defensively, Azcona had a team-high six digs with Toth and Goin adding five digs. Alaina Kogler and Eaton both recorded four digs in the loss.

 

 Posted 9/21/2012