Jets fight through lull, zip Panthers
MONROE ― “I've always said there's gonna be a lull in every game and every match and that you just have to play through it," noted Adams Central volleyball coach Jeremi Schortgen Thursday night after her Jets rallied in a somewhat lethargic second game to knock off a senior-laden Eastbrook team 25-18, 26-24, 25-15.
Playing in its opening game of the season, the Jets toyed with the Panthers in the first game and never trailed despite Eastbrook coming back on several occasions. A kill by Abbey Lichtle finished off the game and it appeared the Jets would continue their momentum on in game two starting off with an early lead.
Eastbrook, now 1-1 on the year after an initial win over Southern Wells earlier this week, finally got going and tied the match at 12-12. They got their first advantage of the night at 13-12 and soon had stretched the lead to 18-14 before the Jets "played through" their brief lull.
Leading 18-14, Eastbrook had two hitting errors and AC's Chelsie Eads thumped down a kill to make it a one-point affair. The team traded two hitting miscues apiece for a 20-19 and senior Bess Fiechter pumped the Jets up with a hard-driven spike for a tie.
Eastbrook coach Kathy Yocum called for a halt to the proceedings and her time out pep talk was good for one Eastbrook point. Kills came fast and furious in the next few minutes with Fiechter nailing two, the second giving AC a 25-24 edge setting them up for Whittney Peterson's game winning blast which appeared to be going out-of-bounds but was inadvertently touched by an Eastbrook defender.
The third game was somewhat anticlimactic as Adams Central quickly assumed a 4-0 lead, moved it to 9-1 on a Peterson kill, and obtained its largest lead of the night at 17-5 on an Eastbrook error. Eads appropriately enough topped the evening off with a game-winning spike for the 25-15 count.
The victory featured the debut of the AC freshman twin towers--Peterson and Haley Gross, both of whom stand 5'10 and helped the AC front line dominate net play. Gross ended up with nine kills while Peterson had seven.
"The freshmen played awesome tonight," said Schortgen, adding "I told them their job is to go out and hit and block the ball. They did a nice job of that tonight. They don't have to worry about anything else. It's the seniors' job to worry. They have three more years to get to that stage."
Schortgen felt a key in the match was that the AC ball control game kept the Eastbrook setter moving all over and she was unable to get the ball on a regular basis to some of the stronger Eastbrook hitters.
That assessment was echoed by Yocum who said the Panthers' "weren't getting the ball to Lauren (Heeter, the top Eastbrook hitter) enough. We didn't do a good job of finding our hitters and with Adams Central's front, we just couldn't compare with them height wise. We need to serve the ball better than we did tonight, too."
Alyssa Keller directed the Adams Central offense with 35 assists in the game and added a team-high 17 digs on defense. Eads led the AC hitters with 11 kills and Fiechter, who was praised by Schortgen for "always being in the right position on the floor," contributed eight kills and 10 digs.
Other AC stats found Liz Luginbill with 15 digs and two aces, Alexa Baller with two aces and 12 digs, Lichtle had four kills, the only AC block of the night, and 14 digs, Abby Snyder had four kills, one ace, and eight digs, and Madi Schultz added one dig.
Adams Central won the junior varsity game over Eastbrook in straight sets as well by a 25-18, 25-18 count.