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Girls volleyball: Valparaiso knocks off LaPorte, will face Crown Point in Saturday’s sectional semifinals

Valparaiso celebrates point against LaPorte during first set sectional play Valparaiso High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

Valparaiso celebrates a point against LaPorte during the first set of sectional play at Valparaiso High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 20, 2012 11:12AM



VALPARAISO — Junior Noelle Eveland has only participated in the Valparaiso-LaPorte rivalry for two months now. The Vikings outside hitter doesn’t know the history of the Slicers or how they’ve dominated Northwest Indiana for decades.

And she doesn’t particularly care to know about the history.

She just knew coming into the match her team had lost two regular-season matches and she wasn’t about to let the Slicers complete the trifecta.

And she had a big part in making sure that didn’t happen.

The former Geneva (Ill.) standout put down the match-winning kill in Game 5 as Valparaiso (26-9) upset the favored Slicers, 3-2 (26-28, 25-14, 27-25, 19-25, 15-13) in the first round of the Class 4A Valparaiso Sectional on Thursday night. In the nightcap, Crown Point came back to beat Chesterton, 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-10).

Valparaiso and Crown Point (18-15) will face off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the chance to play the Portage-Michigan City winner in the 7 p.m. sectional championship.

Eveland said she can’t believe beating the Slicers is finally a reality.

“I’ve honestly dreamt about this moment and we all knew how important it was… and that’s why I think we did fight to the end,” said Eveland, who finished with an astonishing 26 kills. “I know our seniors wanted it so badly and we didn’t want this to be the end.”

Eveland said her team’s motto this year is “Fight to the Finish” but it hasn’t exactly followed it all season… until now. Eveland’s tip kill at 14-13 finished off the Slicers and their season.

“That’s kind of been our problem and every game it’s been more ironic because we’re like: ‘Why did we pick Fight to the Finish?’ But this time, we got it.”

Valparaiso showed tremendous poise down the stretch with LaPorte leading 11-9 in Game 5.

After a Valparaiso timeout, Eveland recorded four kills and Anna Walls added a service ace as the Vikings went on a 6-2 run to finish the match.

Coach Katie Lenard’s pep talk in the huddle apparently proved vital at the end, too.

“We talked about the things we were doing (during that timeout),” she said. “Then I said: ‘This is it. We either get it done right now or we’re done so pull it together and play as a team out there and don’t give up.’

“All year we had two letdowns against them and I didn’t want a third letdown. I wanted to win this one; the one that mattered the most.”

Tarrah Lasky had a strong match for the Vikings recording 48 assists and 18 digs, while Kate Bontrager added 13 kills and Kelsie Schutz tallied 30 digs and three aces.

Crown Point came back from a game down to knock Chesterton out of sectionals.

The Bulldogs’ Abby Kvachkoff finished the job for her team nailing down the final kill.

CP coach Alison Duncan was pleased with her team’s resiliency down the stretch.

“We’ve been though a lot this season but it’s not in our nature to give up and I’m really proud of them. They stepped up and got it done.”



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