Penn Kingsmen top Vikings in freshmen, JV volleyball

Published 6:36 am Thursday, October 11, 2007

By By STEVE MORRISON / Niles Daily Star
NILES – When it rains, it pours.
The Penn-Harris-Madison Kingsmen junior varsity and freshmen volleyball teams of Mishawaka (Ind.) invaded Niles High School Wednesday evening and dominated both matches.
As the rain fell dismally outside, volleyballs fell in torrents on the wrong side of the net for the Vikings. In all fairness, both home squads made strong comebacks against teams that come from a northern Indiana school district whose student body outnumbers Niles by more than a three to one margin.
The Niles junior varsity team started the first game in the red with a 10-3 disadvantage, those three points courtesy of poor serves by the Kingsmen. A missed spike by M.J. Doan of Penn began a resurgent rally by the young Vikings. With Lindsey Lucero serving for Niles, the Vikes began to crawl out of the hole with five points to narrow the deficit to 16-10. Jenna Grannell and Sarah Ferguson contributed some assisted deft work in front of the net.
Including an ace and a tip by Grannell, the Vikes came within five, down 18-13. Then the Penn team made a devastating charge to shut the door. Led by aces from Jordan Beehler and Heberling the Kingsmen scored seven of the last eight points in the game to win convincingly 25-14.
Penn bolted in front to begin the second contest with an 8-0 lead. Morgan Donat began the game serving successfully eight straight times, three for aces, before her ninth serve hit the net to give Niles its first digit. When the score stood at 9-2, the hosts made a charge to narrow the gap to 16-9. The visitors launched another assault to plow ahead 20-11 including aces by Kari Haggenjos and Kim Bretz.
A kill by Niles' Brittney Butti and an ace by Shannon McKeel gave some reason for optimism to close, 20-15. The Penn team put into high gear and took the next five points to railroad Niles' attempt to recover, winning 25-15.
Niles coach Alyse Hoyt responded after the match. "We've seen improvement over the course of the season. All of the players have grown in their development and become more well-rounded as volleyball players. We had a lot of opportunities to make plays, but we just didn't make it happen."
In freshman action, Penn outdistanced the Niles squad 25-19 and 25-18. "We held up well against a big school like Penn," commented Niles frosh coach Tammy Williams. "It was a pretty good effort. We hope to keep playing them. I'm proud of my team. My team is scrappy. They were bigger than us, but that didn't seem to matter after they walked in the door."
At the outset of the freshmen game, the Kingsmen jumped out to a big lead, but Niles came from behind to make a contest of it both times.
Kili Goodrich had four aces and 13 good serves. Sophie Nielsen had two aces and five well-placed serves. Katrina Goodrich provided four solid hits, while Taylor Fuller made four hustling digs.