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Raiders survive battle with Lakers to advance

NEW CARLISLE — In a match that closely resembled their last meeting, Benjamin Logan squeezed out a five-set win over rival Indian Lake in Division II sectional semifinal volleyball action here Tuesday.

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Benjamin Logan’s Alex Thompson, right, blocks a ball hit by Indian Lake’s Taylor Dixon as Ben Logan’s Marissa Wilbur also goes up for the block during Tuesday’s Division II sectional tournament match at Tecumseh High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

As was the case in the regular-season contest between the Raiders and Lakers on Sept. 26, Ben Logan took the first two sets before the Lakers won the next two.

The Raiders opened with a 25-20 win and followed with a 25-16 victory in the second set.

Indian Lake won by scores of 25-23 and 25-19 in the third and fourth sets to force a fifth set.

Ben Logan was able to get refocused for the decisive fifth set, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. The Raiders went on to win 15-9 to close out the match.

“I told the girls going into that last set that we had to eliminate our errors,” said Ben Logan head coach Allison Reule. “Indian Lake is a great team and they played with a lot of heart, but we were hurting ourselves with errors. We had attacking errors and we had serving errors.”

The top-seeded Raiders are now 22-2 on the season and they advance to play third-seeded Urbana for the sectional championship at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at Tecumseh High School.

It was the third matchup of the season between the two Logan County squads. Ben Logan won the first match in August in three sets.

“We came in with a game plan tonight and I thought we executed it about halfway in the first two sets,” said Indian Lake head coach Blythe Moorhouse. “Once the girls got their feet wet and got comfortable, they were able to fully execute what we wanted to do.

“Ben Logan is a phenomenal team. I know physically we are outmatched when we play them, but our girls played with a lot of heart. Even when we were down 14-4 in the last set, the girls just did not quit. That was impressive.”

Indian Lake had the momentum on its side going to the fifth set, but the Raiders grabbed it back. Kylee Smith served for eight straight points to begin the final set.

“It was huge to get that lead in the fifth set,” said Reule. “Kylee came out on fire and forced Indian Lake into making some errors. That gave us the momentum back.”

Ben Logan’s success this season has been in large part because of their balance. The Raiders shared the wealth again Tuesday as several players put up impressive numbers.

Taylor Quay registered 12 kills and three blocks, Ciarra Wirick had 10 kills, Jen Poling posted nine kills, 28 digs and 16 points, Smith had 19 points and nine kills and Alex Thompson added four solo blocks and 10 points.

Brooke Defibaugh paced the Lakers with 11 kills and five aces. Claire Maier had 11 digs and Mikaela Oyer finished with six blocks.

Indian Lake closes its season with a 13-11 record. Tuesday’s match was the final performance for Laker seniors Maier, Oyer and Anna Yerian.

“Each one of our seniors has had a huge role in the program,” said Moorhouse. “I don’t really know what we will do without them. Claire is more of a quiet leader who leads by example. Anna is a vocal leader and Mikaela has been our physical threat at the net. We are really going to miss them.”

To get to the districts, Ben Logan will have to beat another opponent for the third time this fall. The Raiders topped the Hillclimbers in four sets in their first matchup and Ben Logan then pulled out a five-set victory over Urbana in the regular-season finale.

“We have to stay true to how we play,” said Reule of the keys to Thursday’s match. “We need to eliminate errors and come out and play with confidence.”

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