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Girls volleyball: Porters battle, finish strong for 2-set win over Wildcats

PLAINFIELD – One week after failing to wrap up a two-set road win over a Southwest Prairie Conference opponent, Lockport’s girls volleyball team found itself in a similar situation Tuesday when it played at Plainfield Central.

But unlike its match Sept. 10 against Minooka, when they couldn’t hold a big lead in the second set and suffered a tough loss, the Porters staged a big rally in the second set against the Wildcats to capture a 25-15, 26-24 nonconference victory.

Central (4-7) built an 18-11 lead in the second set, but Lockport (8-3) took advantage of some hitting errors by the Wildcats to eventually tie the game at 21. After not taking advantage of its first match point at 24-22, the Porters responded to the 24-all tie by scoring the final two points for the win.

“We knew we were going to have a good group, so we want every night to be a battle,” Porters coach Nick Mraz said. “In the first set, we were calm and composed, and we were business-like, and that was great. Then we made a lot of mistakes and were down 18-11, so we had to respond.”

Lockport was led by Taylor Morgan (nine kills), Lindsay Oldendorf (two blocks), Leena Ajibola (two blocks), Nadia Goich (four kills), Dovile Gorys (11 assists, eight digs) and Cameryn DeBlecourt (eight assists, seven digs).

After the Wildcats got kills from Taylor Babec and Taylor Landfair (11 kills, five digs) to tie the game at 24, Ajibola got a block and Central thought they had tied it again but were surprised to be called for a net violation that ended the match.

“Taylor (Landfair) is an amazing player, and just getting a touch on her as a 5-9 middle going against a 6-4 outside was exciting,” Ajibola said. “We’re learning more about how to finish a game and fighting continuously.”

In the first set, the Porters jumped out to a 10-3 advantage after a serving run by DeBlecourt and maintained the lead while getting five kills from Morgan, three from Goich and two from Hannah Knippenberg, as their two setters had plenty of players to distribute the ball to.

“The Minooka loss was really hard since we just weren’t all together,” Gorys said. “But today, we did very good in the first game, just like last week, and in the second game we were down 17-10 and didn’t get flustered and just pushed through it.”

Other top performers for the Wildcats were Emerson Weissenhofer (five kills, six digs), Quiara Dunson (17 digs) and Aubree Ricketts (three aces, eight digs).

“Lockport is an older team with a lot of juniors and seniors,” Wildcats coach Erik Vogt said. “We came out really flat in the first set, but going in the second set I thought we had a lot of momentum, but unfortunately the ball didn’t go on our side.”