STOCK_VOLLEYBALL

STOCK_VOLLEYBALL

John J. Watkins, The Times

CROWN POINT — Beating Michigan City for the third time this season, and second time in the last five days, wasn’t enough to rattle Crown Point’s Alex Equihua.

Going undefeated through the Duneland Athletic Conference for the second straight season wasn’t daunting to middle blocker Reece Kral despite the Bulldogs getting top efforts from their competition night in and night out.

Playing alongside her other five senior teammates at home for the final time on Thursday night didn’t cause a change in emotion for star Morgan Chacon as she walked off the court following Times No. 1 Crown Point’s 25-22, 25-27, 25-16, 25-16.

What exposed the nerves, and opened up the water works, for the Crown Point seniors were the speeches that each gave following the match as the school honored Equihua, Kral and Chacon along with Peyton Yelich, Alexis Woodburn and Abby Negri.

“I haven’t felt any emotion yet, but I know it’s coming when I give this speech,” Equihua said.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Chacon added. “I’ve been playing with Alex and Peyton for years. I think I’m going to be OK, but when my sister (sophomore Savanah) comes up, I’m going to lose it.”

Losing hasn’t been an idea that has been talked about much in recent years when it comes to the Crown Point volleyball team. The Bulldogs (29-3, 14-0) haven’t lost a conference match in more than two years, last falling 3-0 to Valparaiso on Oct. 1, 2015. Crown Point has won 31 straight regular-season conference matches since that loss and has gone 11-1 in both in-season and postseason tournaments against DAC teams in that time.

“We have worked very hard to get our kids to this point,” Crown Point coach Alison Duncan said. “The season is just so fast. You don’t have time to be tired. You don’t have time to go slow. We’ll have a fun reception tonight and then it’s time to get ready for the postseason.”

Chacon had 18 kills and 23 digs in her final home match while Equihua added 47 assists and 13 digs. Kral had 10 kills, 15 digs and eight blocks.

“I’ve been on club teams that haven’t been able to win a set or a game,” Kral said of winning another DAC regular-season title. “I put in 110 percent every time I go out there and for us to get something in return is really special. Tonight was bittersweet, playing our final home game. Every time I’ve gone into that gym it’s been like my home.”

Hannah Noversoke led the Wolves (29-4, 12-2) with 13 kills and three solo blocks. Kylie Filipiak added nine kills and 10 digs. Three of Michigan City’s four losses have come against Crown Point this season, but the Wolves have taken a set in both regular-season contests.

“We proved to ourselves that we can play at that elite level,” Michigan City coach TR Harlan said. “Now we need to clean some things up in practice. We need to practice a certain way and then translate that into games and that starts on Monday.”

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