BEECHER | Beecher played big when it needed to Tuesday night.
Against a backdrop of Breast Cancer Awareness Night, the Ladycats edged River Valley Conference foe Illinois Lutheran, 25-23, 25-23.
Tuesday's match featured numerous long rallies and exciting points, as each of the games went to the wire. The Ladycats edged ahead 24-4 in the first game on a Charger unforced error, a kill by Meghan Jacobson and a service ace by Gianna Myers.
The Chargers (16-4, 9-3) answered with a putaway by Tori Schrementi and two unforced errors by the Ladycats, before Beecher (18-9-1) closed out the first game when a Charger bump volley went wide.
Chargers coach Rob Mathias said it was the first time his team has lost the opening game of a match this season.
"We self-destructed," Mathias said of the defeat. "My seniors played great, but the kids I've brought up have to go through growing pains, and that is what we have to live with."
The Chargers held a four-point lead midway through the second game, but the Ladycats responded with five points during Rachel Lee's service game and three points off the serve of Katie Wilkoz to grab a 23-20 lead. The Chargers later closed the lead to 24-23 off a kill by Carly Seehausen, but a violation for lifting the ball closed out the match.
Amari Griffin led the Ladycats with seven kills, including three blocks early in the first game. Teammate Brittany Weiss had six kills and Wilkoz added a game-high 10 assists for Beecher. The Chargers were led by Schrementi's game-high nine kills, while Erica Dinnocenzo contributed five kills.
"All six of my girls were in the game all the time," Ladycats coach Jessica Linn said. "I felt (Illinois Lutheran) tried to push its two big hitters, but we read that early in the game, and I felt that kind of shut them down."
Local breast cancer survivors and those who have perished because of breast cancer were remembered prior to the varsity match. Beecher players, donning pink jerseys, presented flowers to the honorees present as they were recognized before a full house at Beecher High School. Both squads also wore the same warm-up shirts that proclaimed breast cancer as the real foe Tuesday night.
"Our soccer team has done it, and we did it this year, and I think it is something that brings my girls together," Linn said. "It is fun for them to set it all up and honor people, and it gets the crowds coming here, and that is the things we need."