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Valpo wins Michigan City tournament

By MIKE MATHIS


MICHIGAN CITY -- Valparaiso emerged from a highly competitive round-robin series to advance to the championship match of Saturday's Michigan City tournament, where it pulled a rabbit out of its hat to knock off Plymouth, 25-15, 23-25, 16-14.

Plymouth was a point away from the title several times, leading 14-9 in the decisive third game, but a Plymouth hitting error brought Dunes Volleyball Club lifer Talyn Watkins to the service line. Her first offering was dead on on the five-zone line and she was money again for another ace, prompting a Plymouth timeout. She delivered a super floater that resulted in a lift call and the Vikings were soon even at 14. A Kennedy Wagner kill down the line extended the run to six points and gave Valpo its first match point at 15-14 and it didn't waste it, closing out the comeback victory.

"I knew it was the game," Watkins said. "Pulling through with our serves was important."

Understated of course, but a product of playing 365 for years.

Plymouth came back in the second game behind Big Ten prospect Clare Sheedy, a 6-foot jump setter. It went to the tip game as well, but moving their outside five feet inside gave Mandy Figg and Miranda German more options.

Valpo advanced past the round-robin due to a local rule allowing the use of JV scoring, which enabled them to edge Fort Wayne Concordia, 25-24, 25-24. From a team standpoint, the Class 3A No. 8 Cadets were the most impressive with only three losses on the season, including 4A Warsaw and Munster.

Westville coach Dale Lake talked about his girls' love for the game in spite of their 1-15 records. Class A school kids playing 90 days a year have little to no chance against 4A teams.


Each team had one or two standouts -- Concord had converted swimmer Sophia Trout, a lefty opposite; Mishawaka had left attacker Emily Eggleston and defensive specialist Autumn Dill; Westville had six freshmen; and the host Wolves had seniors Samantha Jasicki, Ellery Dolezal, Micah Ruhe and the effervescent Alexa Sparks, who just committed to play for St. Francis.


For all the local volleyball low-down, follow Mathis on Twitter at @mathis_m_g.

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