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VOLLEYBALL: La Porte stakes its DAC claim with win at CP

By MIKE MATHIS


CROWN POINT -- It had been 693 days since Crown Point had lost a Duneland Athletic Conference volleyball match.

That stretch of nearly two years ended resoundingly Thursday as La Porte downed the host Bulldogs 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19 in a match that lasted just under two hours.

"We practiced the mental part of the game," Paige Conklin said.

Part of a two-setter attack, Conklin was a pepper pot on the right side, hitting the five zone with impunity. Halle Seaburg's move to varsity last season opened the door for Conklin to develop as a hitter, and Seaburg is savvy with her buddy Conklin back-setting her efficaciously.

"We didn't let the little errors get in our heads," Seaburg said.

There was a point where Justine Talbert was involved in five plays in a row. She complemented the versatility of all her teammates. It's unusual that front-row players hit from the left and right, as this two-fisted approach was victorious.

"The goal was to win, keep errors down, keep our serves in," said big bomber Aniya Kennedy, whose kill-to-tip ratio improved dramatically.

Not only was Lesley Marshall strong passing and digging, she was big bump setting when called upon.

"It was a great environment out there," Marshall said.

On the verge of tears of joy after the match, Olivia Voelker talked about a game she has played since she was 6 years old. True to their name, the Slicers diced with longer knives. First-year coach Jessica Ramirez brought major air as she jumped for joy on point 24 in the deciding game.

Crown Point coach Alison Duncan was disappointed in her team, especially its 12 service errors. She believes the 'Dogs need more effort if they are going to have a successful season and advance to the final four like last year. Kendall Schara was a force, pounding the line from the left side, but the Slicers muted 6-foot-4 two-sport star Lilly Stoddard in the middle. Duncan was unhappy her big hitters had almost as many errors. Libero Vanessa Del Real registered 21 digs.

Follow Mike Mathis on Twitter at @mathis_m_g to stay on top of prep volleyball happenings in Northwest Indiana.


La Porte celebrates its big win at Crown Point on Thursday that put the Slicers in the Duneland Athletic Conference driver's seat. (Photo by Mike Mathis)

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