SYRACUSE – Wawasee’s 22nd Annual Volleyball Invitational was held in Syracuse on Saturday morning and after winning its first three games, the Warriors were upended by South Bend St. Joseph’s. The Indians and Warriors met in Saturday’s title match St. Joe proved to be too much for Wawasee winning 25-12, 25-16 to claim first place.
The Warriors started their day in the green pool and rolled through Garrett in two sets winning 25-21 and 25-15. Wawasee took on Wabash in the second round of the round robin and was given quite a challenge from the Apaches. The Warriors dropped the second set but ultimately outlasted Wabash to win in three sets, 25-17, 16-25, 15-13. The host Warriors finally clinched top spot in their pool by dominating a short-handed Culver Academies squad 25-8 and 25-17.
St. Joe advanced out of the gold pool in dominating fashion. The Indians never lost a set and won each set by seven or more points in pool play. Though Wawasee started strong in the championships first set, the Indians would outlast and out play the Warriors. Wawasee jumped out to an early lead in the second set but once again the Indians proved to be the superior team en route to their second straight invite title.
Wawasee head coach Jeff Phillips would have liked for his to finish first but what really mattered to the coach was his team’s overall performance, “This was an all-around good performance for the day. We really did what we needed and to in order to keep our season moving in the right direction”
Phillips attributed that to great play from a few individuals, “We had some good individual play today out of some girls. Alli Ousley was solid for us, like usual. She is always someone we can count on.” Ousley led her team with 59 assists on the day and added 26 digs and 11 kills. Ousley was one of two Warriors named to the All-Tournament Team.
“Another girl that really stepped up for us today was Becca Anderson. She really provided a nice spark for us off the bench. Really, we had good play from a lot of the girls. This team is ready to move on to Warsaw on Thursday,” Phillips finished.
Wawasee (14-7) will travel to the Tiger Den on Thursday night in hopes of picking up its first NLC victory. The Tigers and Warriors will both be donning pink for Thursday’s “Dig Pink” event for breast cancer awareness. Fan are encouraged to wear pink as well. The varsity match is set for 7 p.m.
While Wawasee’s day ended on a sour note, Whitko salvaged a win to take home in its final match of the day.
The Wildcats lost all three of their matches in pool play and met Culver Academies in the seventh place game. Whitko dug itself into a big hole in the first which led to Culver taking a 25-21 victory. The Wildcats refused to give Culver another chance as they dominated the next two sets 25-16 and 15-4.
Whitko head coach Brandy Smith was pleased her team could take its last match but as for the overall performance, Smith said her team left a lot to be desired, “I’m disappointed. We made a lot of silly mistakes. I’m excited we could compete with teams like Columbia City and St. Joe.
“It good that we could hang with teams like that, but we did not play to the best of our ability. There was things that we could have capitalized on like missed serves and other things but we just didn’t do it today. There were a lot of positives to take away from the day but we still are a work-in-progress.”
Whitko falls to (5-14) on the season and will travel to Wabash on Tuesday to take on the Apaches in a TRC match at 7 p.m.
2013 Wawasee Volleyball Invitational All-Tournament Team
Taylor Smith – Garrett
Nicole Francoeur – St. Joseph’s
Alli Ousley – Wawasee
Gabrielle Hazen – Columbia City
Lydia Katsaropoulos – Wawasee
Mackenzie Chrapliwy – St. Joseph’s