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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Shakamak squeaks by Eels in five-game title game

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Senior Angie Camp reacts after the winning point against White River Valley in the sectional semifinal. (Background) Coach Tricia Hall breathes a sigh of relief.

For the Brazil Times

JASONVILLE " The Shakamak High School volleyball program can erase the word never from its post season vocabulary, finally and forever.

In a battle of teams looking for their first sectional championship, the host Lakers had to go the limit before defeating Clay City 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-5 in the title match in Class A Sectional 57 Saturday night.

“We finally are going to have a trophy in the trophy case,” said SHS coach Jeri Morin, a 1991 Shakamak graduate. “This is the first time that Shakamak has ever won a sectional in volleyball.
“I have wanted to have this feeling for the last seven years. We have come close so many times in the past, but just came up short. Clay City played well, but the girls stayed with it. I am so proud of all of them.”

Clay City coach Tricia Hall is the former Tricia Jones, a standout athlete at Shakamak. In fact, she was a Lady Laker when Morin was the junior varsity coach.

“It was a bit ironic that it was either going to be us getting our first sectional or Shakamak winning their first,” said Hall, who at one time had all the assists records for the Lady Lakers. “It was sad that one of us had to lose it.
“I am very happy for Jeri and Shakamak, but at the same time I am sad for my team, which had a great run in the sectional.”

After Kelsey Farris missed three serves in the No. 2 spot in the rotation, Morin decided to give back row specialist Alexis Shidler a chance to serve. Shidler, who had not served during sectional wins over Union (Dugger) Thursday and earlier in the day against North Central, proceeded to make 21-of-22 attempts.

The senior, who connected on 21 consecutive service attempts, contributed 16 points, five aces and 12 digs.

“Alexis had not served in a while,” said Morin. “I decided to go with her when Kelsey missed a few. What a move it turned out to be. They had a lot of trouble receiving her serve.”

Shidler connected on seven straight serves in the decisive game five as the Lady Lakers jumped out to a 8-0 lead in the race to 15.

“I was just trying to get the ball over the net on my first couple of attempts,” said Shidler. “I relaxed a little bit and was able do a pretty good job serving. I was a little nervous because Clay City had come back to win game four. I was just glad to get the ball over the net. We got the momentum on our side and got off to a good start, which is what we needed. I think I did a decent job.”

Lady Laker senior Annie Strahla, who was 19-of-19 on serve and tallied five points and a match-high 30 digs, said Shidler’s serves were just what they needed.
“Clay City is a really good team,” said Strahla. “They were able to come back and beat us in game four, which gave them all of the momentum. To be honest, I was a little scared. We lost both of our matches this year in the last game. But Alexis’ serving helped us get the momentum back to start game five. Once we got on a roll, we were not going to be stopped.”

After winning 66 matches over the past three seasons and in each year setting a school record for wins, the Lady Lakers, who improved to 29-3 and earned a spot in the semifinals of the South Decatur Regional at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, had nothing to show for their effort except sectional runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2005 and a first-round exit after winning 24 matches in the regular season last year.

“When people said we were ranked last year and lost in the sectional, that motivated us,” said senior Heather Gilbert, who finished with 20 digs, six kills, one block, six points and two aces as she made 14 of 15 attempts on serve. “That really fueled our fire. I think that was the difference this year. We just wanted to win the sectional and we weren’t going to be stopped.”

Senior Chelsea Hudson, who was hampered a season ago with an ankle injury, pounded down 15 kills, mostly from her outside hitter position. She had winners at the net sandwiched around a Clay City miscue, which put the Lady Lakers ahead 13-4 in the fifth game.

Hudson also collected 10 digs, one block, one assist, one ace and three points (9-for-10 serving).
“Once we grabbed onto it, we weren’t going to let it go,” she said. “Losing last year just makes this even more special. This is so exciting. I can’t really believe it yet.”

Shakamak was 102-of-107 serving, good for 95 percent. This compared to 77-of-91 for Clay City, who had 10 of its 14 missed serves in the first two games.

Senior Hanna Moore finished 19-of-20, which led to 11 points.

Angie Camp had six points and one ace as the senior made 13-of-15.
Lynsey Higgins was 13-for-16 and also had six points and an ace.

Kelly McCullough made 10-of-12 serves and scored two points.

Chelsea Hane had seven points as she also connected on 10-of-12.
Mardi Steiner hit on 8-of-10 and finished with four points. Emily Reed was 4-for-6 with one point and one ace.

Camp had two kills while Megan Vansickle and Moore had one each as the Lady Eels closed out the fourth game with a 5-2 spurt. McCullough assisted on Moore’s perfectly placed tip to force a deciding game.

“We had a lead (14-9) in game four, but Clay City came roaring back,” said Morin. “But we just started hitting the ball at the end.”

After seasons of disappointment, Hudson probably summed it up best.

“It was just our time.”

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