LAPORTE | Michigan City's Sarah Puckett and LaPorte's Megan Walls ensured their teams will settle the season series in the sectional semifinals.
Puckett tallied 17 kills and four aces in Michigan City's 25-21, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Portage on Thursday in the Class 4A LaPorte Sectional.
Walls, who had missed the first half of the season with a knee injury, had 13 kills and 12 aces in the Slicers' 25-11, 25-11, 25-8 win over Hobart.
Michigan City and LaPorte split the regular-season series. The two teams will square off in the second semifinal Saturday, while Valparaiso and Chesterton face off in the first one.
The Wolves (15-16) fell behind early in each of the three sets but were able to string together points to earn the sweep.
"Every game was going to be point by point, tooth by tooth, hair by hair," Michigan City coach Kylee Caudill said.
Portage (10-22) held a 21-19 lead in the first set before the Wolves scored the final six points to take the set. Dejania Evans served out the final six points for M.C., and Puckett had two kills in that run.
"Sarah Puckett was unbelievable for them," Portage coach Brian Zofkie said. "She killed us."
Puckett totaled nine kills and an ace in the second set, where neither team led by more than four points. The Wolves scored three straight points to take a 21-17 lead and pull away from the Indians.
"She was hitting just as aggressively in the back row as she was in the front row," Caudle said of Puckett.
Trailing 4-2, the Wolves scored 11-of-14 points to take a 13-7 lead. Portage closed to within one at 21-20, but Michigan City scored four of the final five points to get the win. Brooke Westphal closed out the match with an ace. Haley Snyder had seven kills in the set for the Indians.
Evans had eight kills and a block for Michigan City, while Makayla Adams added six blocks, and Megan Daurer had 35 assists.
Synder finished with 14 kills for the Indians, and Kacie McGuire added 25 assists.
"It's a tough loss to play well all three games and not come away with one," Zofkie said.
The Slicers (21-13) scored nine straight points to open a 20-8 lead in the first set. Walls had six aces during the run. Amanda Brinkman added three kills for LaPorte.
"When I found out that she could do her jump serve, I was a very happy camper," LaPorte coach Karlee Lawson said of Walls. "When she brings it, she can really bring it."
LaPorte opened a 7-1 lead to start the second set and then scored the final six points to close out the set. Walls had five kills and three aces.
The Slicers scored 12 of the final 14 points to take the third set. Courtney West had two aces. For the match, LaPorte finished with 19 aces. Brinkman had six kills.
Grayce Roach had three kills and an ace for the Brickies (10-22).
"We trained our hitters well, but we couldn't get a pass tonight, and if we can't get a pass, we can't do much," Hobart coach Kristi Hoese said.