Girls Volleyball: Knights Invitational crown goes to Lincoln-Way Central
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org October 19, 2013 6:08PM
Lincoln-Way Central’s Jackie Langer says she’s been working on her back-row attack at practice.
It sure looked like it on Saturday.
The senior outside hitter landed some critical long-range bombs in helping the Knights pull away in Set 2 of their 25-23, 25-17 victory over Lincoln-Way East in the championship match of the Lincoln-Way Central Autumn Knights Invitational.
“I wanted to put it down for the team,” said Langer, who finished with 13 kills. “Mariel (Leibovitz) has been setting the ball faster now. So it’s been a faster pace and I’ve been catching (opponents) off guard lately.”
Langer added eight digs, four blocks and two aces, while Maria Brown (11 kills, 11 digs), Leibovitz (23 assists, 6 digs), Candace Finnin (5 blocks), Valerie Diesel (8 digs) and Toni Leitshuh (7 digs) also were among the leaders for Central (26-7).
Jessica Lindsey had nine kills and nine digs, Taylor Nirchi 16 assists and six kills, and Macie Lawrence eight digs for Lincoln-Way East (20-13).
Central won its tourney for the second year in a row.
“East has always been a huge rival,” Brown said. “We knew that they were coming out with some momentum after beating Lincoln-Way North (in the semifinals).
“And this was our last time playing as a team together in our home gym. So we were like, ‘We’re winning our tournament. This is the last time, at least for the seniors, playing in this gym.’ It (the difference) I think was just the fact of how much we wanted it.”
The championship match was similar to the Central-East meeting on Sept. 19, when the Knights had to battle to win the first set 25-22 and then cruised in Set 2.
This time the first set was tied at 23 when Brown landed a rocket from the right side and Finnin blocked an East hit for the final two points.
The second set was tied at 11 when Central made a decisive push, Langer getting things started with a kill for sideout, then going back to serve and putting down a kill from the back row.
Langer’s back-to-back kills started an 8-1 run that also seemed to spur on the back-row defense by the Knights. East landed just three kills the rest of the way.
“We started off slow, but we started getting our energy up toward the middle of the match,” Leitshuh said. “Once we started pushing points, the momentum just came to us.”
Earlier, Central earned its spot in the title match by beating Marian Catholic in the semifinals 25-16, 20-20. East advanced via a 25-20, 25-18 win over Lincoln-Way North.
In the third-place match, Marian Catholic beat Lincoln-Way North 25-21, 25-21.
Amber Clay had seven kills, five blocks and nine digs, Kendyl Todd six kills and six blocks, Ashley Sledge nine blocks, Melanie Craft nine digs and Madeline Huekels 15 assists for Marian (17-16). Casey Zimmerman, Allyson Cappel and Rachel Burkman had five kills each for North (26-6).
Champaign Centennial won the Silver pool, capturing the title match 25-15, 27-25. The Bronze pool crown went to T.F. South in a 23-25, 25-22, 25-19 decision over Stagg. Lincoln-Way West took the Copper pool title match 25-6, 25-23 over Reavis.