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LAPORTE — In a battle of two of the state's best Class 4A teams, the LaPorte girls volleyball team's slow start cost it in the Slicers' 25-17, 25-19, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12 loss to Penn in the Sectional semifinals Saturday.

LaPorte (26-4) was ranked No. 8 and Penn was ranked No. 10 in the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association poll released Monday.

"It was an awesome season and it was fun playing with these awesome players," LaPorte freshman Lesley Marshall said. "It just kind of kicked in that this could be the last time together, so we just went out and played harder."

The Slicers got off to a much better start in sets three and four. Both times they began with 5-1 leads.

Freshman Aniya Kennedy picked up a team-high seven blocks which helped in the comeback.

Kara Cooper, one of three LaPorte seniors, added six blocks.

"We figured out their hitting which helped us block better," LaPorte coach Cassie Holmquest said. "Sometimes we start off that way (slow starts). Normally it's a one game slow start but to do it two games in as competitive a match as this, you just can't do that."

The deciding fifth set was tied at 4 before Penn made a late kick to win the match.

"It was a really fun experience and I'm glad I got to do this with the girls on this team because every single one of them are awesome," Marshall said.

Senior Reilly Briggs, who tallied a team-leading 304 kills this season, closed out her Slicers career with 15 kills and one ace for the Slicers.

Kennedy added 11 kills in 20 attempts.