CLEARWATER — Having lost to the Renegades one week ago, it was ‘payback’ time Thursday night as the Wolfpack netters won a hard-fought, three-game match over Chambers/Wheeler Central 32-30, 16-25 and 25-16.
Having split their first two matches, what was at stake for the Wolfpack was momentum heading into the latter stages of the regular season. An up-and-coming Renegades team, better than their season record, matched up well against the Wolfpack. The difference in the match was the big points in crunch time.
No where was that more apparent than in the first game of the match. The Renegades jumped out to a seven-point lead, 23 to 16. They built their lead with strong net play from Jamie Laetsch, Regan Dierks and Tami Marcellus.
Wolfpack Coach Tina Thiele-Blecher said she told her team during a timeout, “It’s not over. Take one point at a time. You’ve got to believe, you’ve got to have a little grit. Dig down here and get it done.”
The Wolfpack (17-4) did that.
What happened was a big run. The Renegades missed a serve, then senior Jenna Parks started a 6-0 run for the Wolfpack with six service points. Fueling the run were blocks at the net by Jill Schindler and Liz Selting.
With the score tied at 23-all, CWC capitalized on a kill by Marcellus to get to game point. Over the next few minutes, five times CWC would serve for the game and five times they were denied as the Wolfpack answered with kills from Selting, Paige Meis, Terri Seier and Parks.
The Wolfpack’s first set point came at 29-28. That was denied by CWC. Amy Nelson gave EPPJ their second set point chance with a kill which was answered back by CWC. Payday came on EPPJ’s third set point when the Renegades hit went outside the boundary. “Mental toughness showed through for the girls,” Thiele-Blecher said. “They just kept swinging at the ball hard and did things right.”
The second set was tied at 13-all when the Renegades put together a 12 to 3 run to force a third set.
For the complete story, see the print edition of The Elgin Review