Vikings volleyball team falls just short to Lancers

Published 5:30 am Thursday, October 4, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The Lady Vikings volleyball team had every reason to leave the floor dejected after a tempestuous battle with visiting Lakeshore Wednesday night.
Instead, there were looks of pleasure on most of the Vikes' faces due to a terrific comeback to almost pull out a shocking upset of Lakeshore at Niles High School on Wednesday evening.
Beginning the contest with a tight fracas that was tied at 9-9 and later 13-13, the Niles spikers showed real vigor. Despite missing some long shots, the home team came back from down 17-13 to meld a third tie at 17-17.
An ace by Demi Schrader and a tip by Kaylynn Stephenson pushed the ladies into that deadlock. Fine play at front-court by Katie Bourbonnais with consecutive kills and a towering block almost tied the score again with the Niles girls down 23-18.With that surge, the Vikes only trailed 22-23.
Two points later, a block by Lakeshore's Katie O'Connor decided the duel 25-22.
Following the intermission, Niles jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind a tip and a kill by Stephenson combined with an ace by Maddy Peterek. Great defense by Stephenson, Sam Brawley, Karly Kennedy, and Demi Schrader had the Vikings on the prowl. With a quick tip by Kennedy, the Vikings had mounted an 8-4 advantage.
Then the roof caved in. Lakeshore sustained a four-point charge to knot it at 8-8, highlighted by an ace from Kaitlyn Price. A series of kills by Maddy Radtke and O'Connor powered the visitors to a 19-14 lead. Although Bourbonnais blocked two slams for Niles points, a lucky shot by O'Connor that trickled over the net won the game 25-21.
An undaunted Niles team came back with a determined breakthrough in game three. Impressive work by Brittney Wolverton, Brawley, and Bourbonnais, at the forefront, netted a decisive 25-17 revival for the Vikes.
The fourth match of the night was a suspenseful scramble by both squads. Behind 18-14 the hosts scratched back to close the gap at 19-19 and go ahead 22-20, with help from Patty Anton's three kills.
Going the distance, like a resurgent prizefighter, the Vikes swung back to win 31-29. A photographic dig by Wolverton, with her back to the net, fell untouched on the opponents' side to highlight the battle.
Rushing to a 4-0 advantage Lakeshore won the tie-breaker for the day with a decisive 15-5 stinger.
Linda Goodrich, Niles' head coach, was very positive, in spite of the outcome. "We started slow, but we picked up where we needed to. I was really pleased with our senior leadership tonight. Karly Kennedy worked hard. I'm pleased with the effort in our comeback in the third and fourth games. Lakeshore had the ball under control. They're well-coached, a ball-control team.
"We ran out of gas in the fifth game; but, I wanted to add that I think I speak for both coaches when I say that we were frustrated with the referees. It was hard to understand some of the lift calls," she added.
Niles Leaders
Aces: Karly Kennedy 2
Assists: Demi Schrader 22, Maddy Peterek 11
Blocks: Brittney Wolverton 3 (1 assist), Katie Bourbonnais 2 (7 assists)
Digs; Sam Brawley 23, Stephanie Stoops 15, Demi Schrader 14
Kills: Bourbonnais 11, Kaylynn Stephenson 9, Wolverton 7, Kennedy 7