WASHINGTON TWP. | For the last four years, the Washington Twp. girls volleyball team has been the class of the Porter County Conference during the regular season.
At the same time, success in the PCC tournament has been hard to come by as the Senators have won only one tournament title under Scott Campbell.
The Senators took a step toward adding another trophy Thursday night as Washington Twp. dispatched Hanover Central 25-18, 25-11, 25-17 at James W. Dold Gymnasium.
"After we dropped a round-robin match to Kouts, I told the girls that we needed to refocus," Campbell said. "Tonight was a good start."
Lauren Chambers helped set the tone for the Senators with a game-high 10 kills and nine aces.
"It was really important for us to come out and start the tournament strong," Chambers said. "We really want to win. We're a young team, but we really want this."
Washington Twp. senior libero Sarah Lawson led the Senators with 15 digs and added three aces.
"For me, being my last couple games with the team, this is really important," Lawson said. "Winning this tournament would be a big motivator going into sectionals."
In order for the Senators (21-8) to reach the championship match, they'll have to get past Boone Grove, which pulled off a come-from-behind 20-25, 25-12, 16-25, 25-21, 15-11 victory over Morgan Twp.
"I thought we didn't start out with as much intensity as we needed to," Boone Grove coach Linda Eleftheri said. "I told them to forget about the first game, and that it was a whole new match."
Seniors Nicole Bender (10 kills) and Jackie Nowicki (eight kills, six aces) helped pace the Wolves (8-15), but Eleftheri made sure that plenty of her five sophomores got to experience the PCC tournament.
"I think this will set a tone for them," Eleftheri said. "It's a young team, and hopefully the experience of getting to the second day will pay off into next year with more tournaments."
Shelbi Westerhouse led the Cherokees (6-14) with 22 kills, nine aces and 10 digs as Morgan Twp. nearly avenged a three-game sweep by the Wolves earlier in the season.
"I wanted to play on Saturday," Morgan Twp. coach Matt Bien said. "We took Washington to five games earlier, and we wanted another shot. That's not to say that we were looking past Boone at all. We just wanted another shot."