News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

August 26, 2012

Host Eels take volleyball tourney title, while West Vigo displays improvement

CLAY CITY — The three high school volleyball teams who competed Saturday in round-robin competition at Clay City all came away with something they needed — a championship for the host Eels, improvement for West Vigo, and game experience for Bloomfield.

After both the Eels and Vikings earned close victories over the Cardinals — one of the games in each match a 26-24 decision — the day’s final match proved to be the de facto championship. And because the host team entered that match with a big weapon it didn’t have earlier — senior Halli Brewer, the Eels’ strongest hitter — it appeared to be the favorite.

That scenario played out in the first game, Clay City winning 25-16. But it was the second game of that match that coach Cami Readinger of the Vikings appreciated, even though her team couldn’t hold an early 14-7 lead and lost 25-23.

“We’re trying to find good matchups, and I think today we finally found our strong rotation,” said Readinger.

That wasn’t all the Vikings found, she added.

“I saw much more heart, much more fight and much more don’t-give-up attitude,” Readinger said after watching Jordynn Scott lead an inspired defensive effort and both senior Carlie Eldredge and freshman Kylie Cardinal run the attack.

And when that attack begins to demonstrate some of the aggressive swings she sees in practice but not in games — “hitting the ball hard is the fun part,” said Readinger, who didn’t have to be coaxed to do so when she played for the Vikings — it will be a team the West Vigo coach will enjoy.

Enjoying volleyball might be a little easier for the Eels too, now that some turmoil has been resolved. Clay City, coming off sectional and regional championships a year ago, found itself without a coach recently, but baseball and boys basketball coach Vance Edmondson filled the void — “I know enough [about volleyball] to be dangerous,” he joked Saturday — and will lean heavily on returning assistant coach Courtney Dayhuff.

Brewer, one of the returning regulars from last year’s team along with Callie Dayhuff and sisters Chloe and Emmie Kittle, gave her team a big lift with an 11-kill performance against West Vigo. It was the match the Eels won without her — Brewer had a family commitment earlier in the day — that impressed coach Dayhuff, however.

“The girls really stepped up and played well [against Bloomfield],” Courtney Dayhuff said. “They just had yesterday to practice [without Brewer in the lineup].” Emmie — called “Little Kittle” by at least one Clay City fan in the crowd — was the stabilizing force, and would have had at least one media vote if an MVP for the day had been chosen.

“We pulled out close wins in our first two matches [of the season, before suffering one loss],” Courtney Dayhuff said. “Now we just need to find our momentum and keep it rolling.” Saturday, she added, was a nice step in that direction.

Steps for the Cardinals could be called baby steps, since half the players on the Cardinals’ roster are in ninth grade.

“We’re very, very young,” noted veteran coach Susie Schulte, whose team also plays an unforgiving schedule. “Six of our 12 are freshmen.”

Although junior Tiffany Lachance had a 14-kill match against West Vigo that was best of the day, the Cardinals’ inexperience was no doubt a factor in a pair of games they lost 26-24.

“It’s definitely a learning process,” Schulte agreed. “[The young Cardinals] haven’t been in that situation before … and in junior high they didn’t have to work as hard.”

 

Bloomfield    24    19

Clay City    26    25

Highlights — For Clay City, Emmie Kittle had 16 assists, 5 kills, 4 points and an ace; Callie Dayhuff 8 digs, 5 kills, an assist, 7 points and 4 aces; Alyssa Yocom 6 assists, 4 digs, 2 kills and 3 points; Chloe Kittle 4 digs, 3 kills, 2 assists, 2 points and an ace; Meghan Skaggs 4 digs and 7 points; Mackenzee McKittrick 5 kills and 2 blocks; Kiersten Teegarden 4 kills, 2 assists and a block; Claire Miller a dig, a kill, 3 points and an ace; and Kelsie Fischer 2 points and an ace.

For Bloomfield, Tiffany Lachance had 6 kills, 6 digs, a block, 6 points and 2 aces; Nicole Hughes 5 digs, 2 blocks, a kill, 6 points and 3 aces; Kari Schulte 10 assists, a dig and 4 points; Aubrey Adams 9 digs, 2 points and an ace; Emily Bucher 3 kills, a block, a dig, 2 points and an ace; Madison Toon a kill, a block and a dig; Meaghan Bond a block, a point and an ace; and Macayla Myers and Lexi Place a dig each.

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