By Dalton Tinklenberg
BREMEN – The NorthWood Lady Panthers traveled to Bremen Saturday morning for the Bremen Invitational Volleyball tournament. Entering with a record of 19-2, NorthWood put their skill on display early and often.
The first game of the round robin style tournament saw the Lady Panthers face off against the John Glenn Lady Falcons. The first set was dominated by NorthWood as the Lady Panthers cruised to a 25-9 win. The second set was a bit more competitive.
The Lady Falcons took a quick 2-0 lead and looked well prepared to fight back. NorthWood tied things at two apiece before John Glenn again got out to a 4-2 lead. That would be the final breath of hope for John Glenn. The Lady Falcons flipped the switch and never looked back, holding the lead from 5-4 all the way to a 25-18 win. The victory of the set awarded NorthWood a win in their first game of the tourney. Sophia Barber had five kills and four aces while Macy Lengacher added eight digs.
Coming into the second matchup, the Lady Panthers drew a tough Prairie Heights squad coming off an earlier win.
That did not phase NorthWood as they came out ready to play. The Lady Panthers jumped out to an 8-2 lead and never let things get much closer after. When the dust settled, NorthWood was left standing with a 25-15 set win.
The second set was much closer in the early stages as Prairie Heights fought to stay competitive. Unfortunately for Prairie Heights, NorthWood again ran away with things late. The win moved NorthWood to 2-0 on the day and placed them just one win away from the championship game.
That final obstacle came in the form of the John Adams Lady Eagles. Much like the first two opponents, John Adams failed to mount much resistance as the Lady Panthers quickly claimed a 2-0 win to setup a match against Culver Academies.
“Culver’s really big, so we will get over there and see,” said NorthWood head coach Hilary Laidig. “They should be able to get some touches on our block but hopefully serving really aggressively again will help us on offense and not defensively as much.”
While the Lady Eagles gave NorthWood their greatest challenge of the day, they still could not claim a single set as NorthWood swept with a 2-0 win.
During the championship, Claire Payne tallied seven kills and five blocks. Macy Lengacher recorded 12 digs and two aces.
Overall, Payne had 25 kills and 13 blocks and Sophia Barber had 26 kills, 26 digs and eight aces. Lengacher had 38 digs, 10 assists and seven aces, Karis Bennett had 18 kills and six aces, and Annika Bennett had 74 assists and 24 digs.
Next up, NorthWood (23-2) will hit the road to face Jimtown on Monday.
Elsewhere in the tournament, Wawasee left disappointed after dropping its first game of pool play to Culver Academy before rallying for two wins against Triton and host Bremen.
After splitting the first two games, 25-22 to CMA in the first and 25-15 to Wawasee in the second, the Academy had just a bit more juice in the rubber match, winning 15-12.
That would prove costly for Wawasee as the Academy would finish 3-0 in pool play and advance to the final while Wawasee was left to take on Adams in the consolations.
Against Triton, Wawasee was outmatched in the first by a score of 25-18. Rather than packing it in and giving up, Wawasee fought back to earn a hard fought 30-28 victory that set up a third set. That set was all Wawasee all the way as the Lady Warriors easily claimed a 15-10 win.
There was no time for rest or relaxation as Wawasee found themselves facing off with Bremen in the very next game. Despite the Lady Tigers being the home team and coming into the game with a little bit of rest, neither set was every really close. Wawasee easily cruised to a 2-0 victory, setting up a game against John Adams in the consolation game.
Wawasee again showed its prowess, shutting down Adams for a 2-0 win, albeit 25-23, 25-22 scorelines.
“We are obviously disappointed to lose to Culver,” said Wawasee head coach Jeff Phillips. “ [I’m] just a little disappointed the way we came out of that first set, the morning match. You know that happens in tournaments sometimes. It’s early on the morning, all of those types of things. Other than that though I think we responded well. Obviously I hate to go three against Triton but at least we were able to win that match, beat Bremen. Then we can salvage the day if we can win this crossover match to end the day. Other than that, feel pretty good.”
Wawasee had Leslie Vazquez lead the team with 45 kills, 28 digs, seven blocks and four aces, Amanda Allen tally 102 assists and four aces and Dylan Konieczny with 34 kills and four aces.
Next up, Wawasee (19-4) will hit the road on Monday to face off against Northridge.