North Central Upsets EPPJ At NVC Semi’s

STUART — Two teams stepped on the floor Tuesday night seeking a conference championship. One team advanced.
Elgin Public-Pope John suffered just their second loss of the season, this time to North Central in the semi-final round of the tournament.
The Wolfpack won the first game 25-21, then lost the last three 25-16, 27-25 and 25-10.
North Central’s height in the front row caused the Wolfpack problems. North Central seniors’ Jaycee Fleming (5’11”) and Rachel Stewart (5’10”) play in the front row gave the Wolfpack fits throughout the match.
Yet, at the start, the Wolfpack appeared ready to seize another victory. Game #1 was a slug fest as Paige Meis, Elizabeth Selting and Amy Nelson each recorded five kills. On the other side of the net, Jaycee Fleming and  Rachel Stewart had five kills also. The action went back and forth. With the score tied at 19-all, the Wolfpack made their move. They outscored the Knights six to two to colose out the game. Nelson had two kills, Meis added one and Calli Krebs closed out the game with an ace serve.
The Wolfpack trailed for most of Game #2 as Bailey DeVall and Caitlin Orton became more involved in the Knights’ attack. Fleming recorded her second kill in the game, making the score 11 to 4. Back-to-back kills by Grace Henn cut the Knights’ lead to 13 to 8. From there, North Central outscored the Wolfpack 12 to eight to win the game. The closest the Wolfpack got was four points, thanks to a kill by Nicki Payne and another ace serve from Krebs.
Game #3 proved to be the turning point in the match. The Knights would go up by two points, then the Wolfpack would answer right back. A kill by Selting knotted the score at 22-all. Moments later, an ace serve by Ally Wemhoff gave the Wolfpack their first lead at 24-23. A solo block by Orton set up game point and the Knights converted to win 27 to 25. That would be as close as the Wolfpack would get to seizing control of the match.
The Wolfpack never led in Game #4. Skylar Cosgrove had back-to-back ace serves to start a 4-0 run for seven to three lead. Four points would be the closest the wolf pack would get in the final game as Orton put together five kills, Stewart would add three as momentum was clearly on North Central’s side.
For the match, the Wolfpack were successful on 128 of 164 attacks, producing 48. Nelson led the team in kills with 13, Selting had 12 as did Meis. Payne had a season-high seven kills and Henn added four.
The Wolfpack were successful on 70 of 73 serves. Krebs had two ace serves, Allyson Wemhoff had one.
Payne, Selting and Nelson each had one solo block in the match.
Mescher led the team in digs with 28, Krebs had 11 and Allyson Wemhoff posted 10.
Baylee Wemhoff had 30 of the team’s 46 set assists in the match, Allyson Wemhoff added nine, Payne had six and Henn had one.
Mescher led in serve receive with 29, Selting had 24 and Krebs posted 18.
The loss dropped the Wolfpack’s record to 25-2.