Volleyball: Crown Point gets redemption by winning own invitational
CROWN POINT — A lineup change paid off for Crown Point as a revamped back row led the Bulldogs (16-7) to a first-place finish in Saturday’s Crown Point Invitational.
The hosts took all three matches without losing a game, defeating South Bend St. Joseph 25-21, 25-22 to secure the championship.
Jordyn Banske, Alyssa Mazur and Taylor Sabato formed the new-look Crown Point defense.
“They played phenomenally as a defensive unit,” Crown Point coach Alison Duncan said. “I really think everyone stepped up; everyone lifted their level of play.”
After a five-set Duneland Athletic Conference loss to Lake Central on Thursday night, the Bulldogs entered Saturday seeking redemption.
“We really wanted to push the girls and tell them that it was a learning experience for us,” Duncan said.
Crown Point did not take its first lead of the second game against St. Joseph until snagging a 15-14 advantage. The Bulldogs went on a 5-0 run with Taylor Sebato serving to build an 18-14 edge. The Indians regained the lead at 21-20 before Crown Point scored five of the final six points of the match.
The championship was a family affair for CP setter Alyssa Kvarta and her cousin Chelsea Suppinger, who plays for South Bend.
“I’m used to playing with her in club volleyball, so I pretty much know where she’s at and what she does,” Kvarta said. “I tell my players not to hit at her because she’s really good at passing.”
Kvarta totaled 65 assists, 14 kills, 10 digs and two aces to earn the tourney’s Most Valuable Player distinction, while Caley Rainford and Jordyn Banske earned spots on the all-tournament team.
Crown Point dispatched of Whiting and Kankakee Valley in pool play to reach the final, while St. Joseph knocked off Wawasee and Lowell. Kankakee Valley defeated Lowell 25-19, 25-13 to take third place.
“We definitely need to work as a team on our blocking, and that will pull together our defense,” Lowell coach Dana Jeffries-Radtke said. “We want to put better hands up there on the ball and make sure that we are closing together for our block.”
Whiting, which was playing in a tournament with larger schools for the first time this season, topped Wawasee 25-13, 25-10 in the fifth-place match.