LOWELL | In a decisive Game 5 that gave Lake Central its first sectional title since 2007, the Indians had match point at 14-13, 15-14, 17-16, 18-17, 19-18 and finally won it 21-19.
"We had to focus and stay positive at every point," Lake Central senior Julianne Epperson said. "We had to keep our other players in the game. This is very surreal. We've worked hard all season long and proved that even when we are down, we can come back."
"That was a superb battle," Indians coach Tina Tinberg said. "It was one of the finest battles we've had with anyone, ever."
Battling back from a first-game loss, and down by as many as three in the fourth game, Lake Central beat four-time defending champion Munster 17-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 21-19 for the Class 4A Lowell Sectional title on Saturday.
The Indians were led by 15 kills from freshman Tori Gardenhire and 39 digs from freshman libero Dani Ellis. Sophomore Brooke Renner smacked her eighth kill of the game as the decisive and final point of the marathon fifth game.
"Their libero was digging a lot of balls and what we were trying to play at them," Munster coach Tracy Summers said. "She had a great game."
As Lake Central reached each match point in the final game, Munster kept its hopes alive. Setting to junior Shannon Farrell, the Mustangs (28-8) picked up four kills from their outside hitter in the last game. Farrell finished with a game-high 20 kills.
"Shannon was solid throughout the entire match," Summers said. "She's our go-to player and she was fearless."
Munster had a chance in the fourth game to make a run, leading at 17-14 on an ace by sophomore Toni Dallecarbonare. The Indians made a run to lead 19-18 and tied the game at 21-21, scoring four of the final five points.
"We definitely don't let up," Tinberg said. "They played relentless and ferocious, particularly in the last two sets. It's a sign of a good team when they believe they can do incredible things together."