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October 21, 2012

Logansport volley falls to nemesis Harrison

LAFAYETTE — There’s close, there’s really close and then there’s really, really close.

The latter of which well describes the matchup between Logansport and Harrison on Saturday night in the Class 4A McCutcheon Sectional final.

The Berries just couldn’t quite get past their sectional nemesis, Harrison, in a 27-25, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 defeat in a well-played, thrilling contest.

“We played our hearts out, but they just had a couple good runs. We had ‘em, but we let them through our fingers,” senior Kiley Victor said.

“We played well, we pushed through,” senior Alaina Page added. “When they were up 2-0, we won that third game and we just couldn’t pull out the fourth one. I’m really proud to play with these girls and it was a good year.”

The Berries (26-7) had all the momentum in the fourth game and it looked like they were going to force a fifth. But in this even matchup, anything could happen, and Harrison (21-11) was able to rally from a 20-14 deficit to take the fourth and final set.

“You never feel like you’re in control against Harrison, it’s always going to be a battle,” Logan coach Jon Vernon said.

Logan came back from a 5-0 deficit in the first game and was serving for a set point at 25-24 when the Raiders rallied for three straight crucial points.

“We’re right there. If that first game would have went our way, it’s a different story,” Vernon said.

Logan rallied from a 19-13 deficit in game two and appeared to tie the match at 19-all when a call was reversed on a tip call that made it 20-18 Harrison, and the Raiders were able to take a 2-0 lead.

The Berries trailed 7-1 in the third game and appeared dead in the water before outscoring Harrison 24-7 the rest of the set. Victor caught fire in the set, when the Berries at one point scored 10 straight points.

Sophomore Sydney Bullard finished with 15 kills for the Berries. Victor had 11 kills and 13 digs, and Page posted 10 kills and 13 assists.

Katie Easter served seven aces. Jen Crafford and Nakeya Penny had three blocks apiece. Bailey Kelley dished 20 assists. Lindsey Cheney added seven digs.

Vernon was happy with the strides made in his first season at the helm, and he talked about what the Berries need to do to make the next step.

“We did improve on our passing. We’ve got to get quicker, we’ve got to get quicker at the net. When we set the ball we get lulled into a false sense of security playing some of the teams that we play that we can just beat the ball down. Like Harrison tonight, they’re so quick. We’ve got to get quicker around the net, better approaches, better quickness and some shoots and hits that way.”

The Berries recently graduated two Division-I hitters in Kelsey Victor (Valparaiso) and Katie Champion (Northern Colorado), and they’ll lose two more college-level hitters in Page and Kiley Victor. But the future remains bright.

“We’re going to reload,” Vernon said. “We’ve got a lot of good kids, the cupboard’s full right now. We’ve just got to find a way to get over the top. I think we took a big step tonight proving we’re right there, we’re real close.”

The Berries had a big test in their morning semifinal match against Lafayette Jeff (18-17) just to get to the final. They won 25-15, 26-24, 25-23. Bullard had 13 kills, Page had 12 kills and nine assists and Kiley Victor added four kills and 13 digs. Crafford posted three blocks. Kelley and Cheney each had nine digs, and Kelley dished 21 assists.

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