Girls volleyball

Wheeler volleyball wins program's first regional crown

2011-10-25T21:00:00Z 2011-10-27T20:06:27Z Wheeler volleyball wins program's first regional crownBy Jim Hunsley jim.hunsley@nwi.com, (219) 548-4356 nwitimes.com

UNION TWP. | No matter the quality of the set, Wheeler junior outside hitter Shannon Doyle said she was ready to strike Tuesday night.

"Bad set, good set, I want to get a hold of the ball," said Doyle, who added 17 digs. "I want to do what I could to help the team."

Doyle was 59-of-61 hitting with 34 kills to help host Wheeler outlast Rochester 17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 15-10 to win the program's first regional crown.

"This is so awesome," said Doyle, who had eight kills -- including the match-clincher -- in the fifth game. "As the match goes on, you do get tired. I had confidence, and that helped me keep up my energy."

The Bearcats (27-10) started off slowly, dropping the first game. First-year coach Alisha Polite said that might have been a blessing in disguise.

"More than anything, I think that woke us up,"  Polite said. "It's the girls. They did a tremendous job of working with one another. I'm just the pawn at this point."

Setters Natalie Roe and Stephanie Beck kept Doyle busy -- even in the back row -- and totaled 26 and 17 assists, respectively.

"Shannon made some great plays, but she's only as good as those who set or pass her the ball," Polite said. "Everyone has to do their jobs."

Rochester (24-12) tied things with a win in the fourth game, but they weren't able to overcome Doyle and her powerful spikes in the clinching game.

Coach Katie Felke said Doyle is the best hitter from the middle the team has faced this season.

"We watched tapes of her, and she wasn't as fast (on tape)," Felke said. "She was really exceptional."

Whitney Maas added eight kills and 18 digs, while Haley Plothow had eight kills, 20 digs and three aces.

Wheeler meets Class 2A No. 2 Wapahani (27-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals of the Bremen Semistate.

"(The title) is very fulfilling," Polite said. "It's unreal."

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