MICHIGAN CITY | The swing of emotions was palpable in the Marquette Catholic gym on Saturday night.
As far as sweeps go, Washington Township’s 25-11, 26-24, 25-19 Class A Marquette Catholic Sectional championship win over Westville was one of the more entertaining matches that’s likely to be seen as the Senators rode a first-set rout to hard-fought wins in games two and three.
Washington Twp. stayed on the emotional upswing throughout the night, but Westville rode an emotional roller coaster to exhaustion.
“We’ve played them twice already, so coming into this game we were very confident,” Washington Twp. coach Kevin Labaj said. “We knew things that we needed to do.
“Going into the second game, it was back-and-forth and towards the end we started to make mental mistakes. It was us losing the game for ourselves. We found a way to pull it out.”
Westville led the second game 1-0, 13-12 and 17-15, but a string of four straight points served by Lauren Kleist put Washington Twp. ahead 20-17. The Senators built up to a 23-19 lead, but the Blackhawks rallied with five straight points to take a 24-23 lead.
Washington Twp. scored the next three points to stave off a loss, punctuated by a Natalee Kwiatkowski ace that secured the 26-24 win.
“Both teams were definitely emotionally drained,” Labaj said. “But I think by us winning that (second set), it gave us the energy. The girls showed it on the court.”
The Senators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set and never trailed.
In the first set, Washington Twp. also led wire-to-wire, highlighted by scoring runs of four points by Bethany Kingery and six points to close out the set by Samantha Higgins.
“They were a little exhausted from this morning’s game,” Labaj said. “We went home, had a good meal and took a little nap. That first game, they put everything into it – maybe a little too much. But they pushed through that second game and we pulled it out in the long run.”