Volleyball: Zebras avenge regional loss to Wheeler
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent October 23, 2012 11:38PM
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:49AM
ROCHESTER — It was a different setting, but this story — and several of its characters — was the same as Rochester and Wheeler again squared off for in a Class 2A regional championship.
The ending was different, too, as Rochester topped Wheeler 3-2, evening the score after the Bearcats (31-6) had defeated the Zebras (30-8) in last year’s matchup.
“It’s tough; it’s a tough loss,” said Wheeler coach Alisha Polite. “We knew it was going to be the same kind of game as last year. They go to (Rochester outside hitter) Katlyn Sawyer; that’s their girl. When they have a chance, she’s going to get the ball.”
Sawyer, the standout talent on Rochester’s squad, had 34 kills in the match, including the final point of the night to seal the victory for Rochester.
After the teams split the first four games, Wheeler moved out to a 14-12 lead in the fifth game. But the Bearcats were unable to convert on three match points, allowing the Zebras to come from behind and capture the regional title with an 18-16 Game 5 victory.
Wheeler jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the first game of the night and never let it go, although Polite had to use a few timeouts to slow down a pair of late Rochester rallies. Ultimately, it was a Shannon Doyle kill that ended Game 1 25-22 in favor of the Bearcats.
The home team took the next two games, however. Despite a Bearcats rally from a 24-20 deficit to a 25-24 match point of their own, Rochester hung on for a 27-25 victory in Game 2. The Zebras turned that momentum into a 15-4 run in Game 3, which Rochester won 25-13.
Wheeler preserved its season momentarily with a 25-21 victory in Game 4, setting up the decisive fifth game.
Doyle, a senior, finished the match with 21 digs and 16 kills in the final match of her high school career. Fellow senior Haley Plothow added 16 more kills and 14 digs.