MISHAWAKA – The day started on a high note for the Warsaw volleyball team in the Mishawaka Invitational on Saturday.
The Tigers topped conference rival and perennial power Elkhart Memorial 25-10, 25-20 to open pool play action in the eight-team field.
The rest of the tournament turned out to be a learning experience for the youthful Warsaw squad.
The Tigers, under first-year coach Rick Ashmore, lost their final three matches in the invite and finished in fourth place in the tournament played at John Young Middle School.
Carmel, ranked No. 2 in Class 4-A, beat the Tigers 25-14, 25-17 and Lafayette Harrison topped Warsaw 25-23, 25-17 to wrap up pool play competition.
Mishawaka Marian, ranked No. 5 in Class 3-A, stopped the Tigers 25-23, 25-11 in the bracket match for third place to conclude the tournament.
The junior tandem of Nikki Parrett and Alexie Day led the offense for the Tigers. The pair each totaled 22 kills in the four matches in the tournament. Junior Hanna Leach finished with 18 kills, while sophomore Katie Swanson had six and sophomore Kacy Bragg five.
Sophomore libero Erin Peugh paced the defense with a total of 53 digs on the day. Day had 27, while Bragg had 16 and Leach 14. Brynn Durecki, the lone senior for the Tigers, had 11 digs and Parrett 10.
Parrett led the way in serving with seven aces. Bragg had three, while Peugh and junior Emma Gelbaugh two. Bragg had 43 assists. Gelbaugh and sophomore Rachel Yeager each had two blocks, while Swanson and Parrett each had one.
Memorial, which is ranked No. 16 in Class 4-A, rallied to top South Bend St. Joseph 2-1 to finish in fifth place Saturday. The Crimson Chargers beat St. Joe 21-25, 25-14, 15-10. Memorial beat Lafayette Harrison 25-20, 25-12 and lost to Carmel 25-10, 25-21 in pool play.
Junior Sydnie Schultheis led Memorial on the day with 17 kills, five blocks and four aces. Sophomore DeJanea Johnson had 11 kills and senior Makennize Williams 10. Junior Brooke Troyer had 26 digs and senior Lindsey Stahl 24. Senior setter Krystal Grubb had 52 assists and sophomore Ashley Asher five blocks.
Memorial, which is now 4-2 this season, went 28-10 a year ago and won conference, sectional and regional championships before losing in the semifinals of the Class 4-A Plymouth Semistate. Coach Jacquie Rost’s team lost seven seniors from last year’s squad.
Warsaw, now 5-6, will open Northern Lakes Conference play at Memorial Tuesday night. The JV match begins at 6 p.m. with the varsity clash to follow.