LAPORTE | Hanging high above the arena floor at LaPorte is a banner commemorating the Slicers' 14 volleyball sectional championships.
Every year since 2005 is listed with the exception of last season when LaPorte suffered a disappointing loss to Valparaiso in the sectional championship.
The Times No. 1 Slicers gained another measure of revenge for last season on Tuesday night, knocking off the No. 3 Vikings 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19 in yet another hard fought match between the rivals.
LaPorte pulled out a five-game victory at Valparaiso earlier this season and Tuesday's victory clinched an outright Duneland Athletic Conference championship for the Slicers.
"We look up at that banner every day and it's a reminder that we need to keep working hard," LaPorte coach Erin Parker said. "The girls have had a chip on their shoulder ever since the last ball hit the floor last season."
The Slicers (23-5, 12-0) came out with a strong frontline attack in the first two games as Taylor Lebo dominated with 29 kills and 26 digs. Sierra Conklin added 10 kills, including the final two hits of the second game that gave the Slicers an early 2-0 lead.
"We knew that if we were going to win the match that we had to win the second game," Conklin said. "We didn't want them to be able to get any kind of momentum."
The Vikings (18-7, 9-3) answered with an impressive 25-20 win in the third game as Noelle Eveland (20 kills) and Madison Olsen (15 kills) started to connect on shots all over the floor.
Valparaiso looked to carry the momentum into the fourth game, but much like the fifth game at Valpo, the Slicers began feeding Lebo and finished off the Vikings.
"All of the little things started to add up as the night went on," Lebo said. "It means a lot that we worked hard to get back to our place above the DAC."
Despite missing out on the conference title, Valparaiso coach Katie Lenard remained positive after the match as the Vikings still have the postseason to look towards.
"A goal of ours isn't possible anymore, but we're not done by any means," Lenard said. "We still have a lot left to accomplish."