LA SALLE – The La Salle-Peru volleyball team defended its home court against rival Ottawa on Tuesday with a 25-19, 25-20 victory in an Interstate 8 Conference match in La Salle.
“Both offenses played well, but both defenses were better;” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said. “It was tough to get a ball down tonight.
“We were able to win more of the long rallies, and that gave us an edge tonight, but give Ottawa credit, they made us earn every point.”
The match started with Ottawa’s Allie Snyder and L-P’s Sarah Peters trading kills and setting the tone.
The Cavaliers went ahead up by 2 as Bella Lambert slammed a kill, and Erica Antle floated a ball over the net for a point.
The match stayed tight until Reena Stevens served the Cavaliers to a 12-6 advantage with an ace, along with a pair of Lambert kills.
The Pirates tightened up the match on a pair of blocks from Snyder, a booming kill from Olivia Evola and another block from Brea Konwinski to close the gap to 22-18.
In perhaps the defining point of the night, the teams engaged in an epic rally in which both teams attacked and scrambled all over the gym to keep the volley going until Peters rose up above the net and slammed the ball into the heart of the Ottawa defense to claim the all important point, giving L-P a 23-19 lead.
Peters wasn’t finished.
For good measure, she blocked a Pirates spike attempt to seal the Cavaliers’ 25-19 Game 1 win.
Game 2 saw the teams exchange points until L-P again slipped away with a big service effort from Taylor Martyn, who combined a pair of aces with a Camryn Piscia block and kill to stake L-P to an early 7-3 advantage.
Ottawa’s Chey Joachim and L-P’s Antle then swapped spikes before Ottawa’s Ryleigh Stevenson delivered a back row spike to make the score 13-9 in favor of L-P.
The Cavaliers began to roll, getting kills from Maddie Freeman, Avery Urbanski and Peters to build a 20-13 advantage.
After a pair of lasers from Ottawa’s Stevenson, L-P’s Katie Sowers stepped to the service line and fired an ace to go with a Piscia kill to put the game on its brink at 24-15.
But the Pirates were not about to go away quietly, as Stevenson fired a pair of aces and the Pirates continued to fight, getting a dink and a spike from Mel Pries to fuel a fierce comeback that fell short as the Cavaliers’ Piscia put up a block to end the game and the match.
“We played them well,” Ottawa coach Jenn Crum said. “We are young, and I am happy with the energy we had tonight. This was a special night (Breast Cancer Awareness Night), and we knew they would come out and play well.
“There were a lot of long rallies that just didn’t go our way, but that is all part of learning for a young team.”