CROWN POINT | Kate Bontrager had enough of all the noise coming from Crown Point's side of the court.
The Valparaiso junior implored her teammates to raise their energy level after the Times No. 4 Bulldogs evened Tuesday night's Duneland Athletic Conference match at one game apiece.
What followed was a vocal demonstration the likes that had never been heard and a crisp volleyball display that led the No. 2 Vikings to a 25-17, 18-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory.
"When you're the team that is the loudest and the team with the most energy, that's almost like having a seventh player on the floor," Bontrager said. "We had some sparks early, and then we brought a lot more energy."
The Vikings felt right at home in Crown Point's gym as temperatures were at unprecedented levels for a mid-September match. Valparaiso coach Katie Lenard thought heading into the match that the heat could work as a positive for the Vikings.
"We don't have air at Valpo, so this was nothing to us," Lenard said. "We talked on the bus on the way over that it was going to be hot and that it was going to be loud. We just needed to focus on the match and use things to our advantage."
The Bulldogs were aided by a boisterous junior varsity squad that led cheers in the stands during the second game which swung the momentum back in Crown Point's favor. Senior Abby Kvachkoff led the Bulldogs (9-5, 2-2 DAC) with nine kills and two solo blocks while playing her best volleyball in the second game.
"Our momentum and energy was through the roof during the second game," Crown Point coach Alison Duncan said. "This was a very competitive match, and it was the little things that determined the winner. We'd go on a run and then make some aggressive mistakes."
Morgan Mikenas led the Vikings (7-5, 4-0) with nine kills, while Bontrager had four kills and 19 digs. Timi Stiscak added seven kills to go along with two aces.
"This was definitely an important match ahead of LaPorte on Thursday," Lenard said. "No one is comfortable right now, and we're looking to continue to improve."