NEOGA — After a 25-14 first-set victory for Neoga, it looked like the Indians would cruise to a win against Teutopolis Thursday night. Looks can be deceiving. The match turned into a hard-fought battle at the net as Teutopolis came roaring out of the second set, but Neoga prevailed with a 25-14, 24-26, 25-19 victory over the Lady Shoes. "They are a very good digging team, (it showed) the last two sets," said Neoga coach Reeni Letizia. The Indians came out in the first set locked and loaded, as Courtney Croy took over the offense and Neoga raced out to a 17-4 lead. Teutopolis began a comeback from there, outscoring the Indians 10-8 for the rest of the set. It may have been too little, too late for the first set, but it planted the seeds for a comeback for the Lady Shoes. "The team you saw the first game wasn't our team," said Teutopolis coach Jessica Schackmann. "They came out that second game and were ready to play."The changes started at the net, as the Teutopolis block gave Croy and the rest of the Neoga hitters a much harder time converting kill attempts into points. Neoga grabbed an early lead, but Teutopolis kept fighting, coming back from down 15-10 with a 5-0 service run keyed by Danielle Bergfeld at the service line. The Indians jumped back out to an 18-15 lead, but two Julie Wente aces and an Ashley Westjohn tip point gave Teutopoolis its first lead. They'd push it out to 23-20, but Neoga scored four straight points on Teutopolis errors. The Shoes regrouped, tying it with a serving error and winning the set with a Wente kill and a Wente block. "They decided it was timke to play," Schackmann said. "They got their hands up, got them high and that was the difference. The teams battled through the third set, with Olivia Ott making her presence felt for Neoga, scoring three of the first six points for the Indians. Teutopolis briefly grabbed a 13-12 lead on a Bergfeld ace, but that would be it. A Demmie Long ace pushed it to 18-16, and the Shoes committed a few errors down the stretch that led to the 25-19 win for Neoga. It was a change of pace for the Indians, who have struggled in close games. The difference was made at the net, responding to a solid block of Kayla Kroeger, Wente and Michelle Schmidt. "We covered our hitters," Letizia said. "We're improving on our blocking and net games. We've lost so many by a couple of points, it was nice to see them fight. Croy had 13 kills to lead the Indians, and Ott added 11 of her own with 14 digs. Jillian Deters had seven kills, eight digs and seven blocks while Long led the team with 23 assists. Kroeger finished the night with 10 blocks for Teutopolis and three kills. Wente had two kills, 10 digs, three bloocks and three aces. Katelyn Ruholl had 10 assists, and Schmidt and Lucy Niemerg each had four kills to lead the Wooden Shoes.Teutopolis' comeback was impressive, but the loss was another tough one after losing to Effingham earlier this week. "This week was tough, probably the toughest we'll see all season," Schackmann said. "When it clicks, it'll click. Teutopolis plays at Saturday's St. Anthony/Newton volleyball Invitational and Neoga (5-5) heads to the Windsor Invitational Saturday.
Teutopolis 14 26 19Neoga 25 24 25Teutopolis: Schmidt (4 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces); Wente (2 kills, 10 digs, 3 blocks, 3 aces); Ludwig (2 kills, 10 digs); Niemerg (4 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace); Kroeger (3 kills, 10 blocks); Ruholl (1 kill, 5 digs, 10 assist); Westjohn (2 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace, 5 assists); Bergfeld (2 aces)Neoga: Kastl (4 kills, 10 digs, 2 assists); Ott (11 kills, 14 digs, 3 blocks, 1 assist); Croy (13 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks); Deters (7 kills, 8 digs, 7 blocks); Long (23 assists, 12 digs, 1 ace); Harshman (2 kills, 18 digs, 1 ace); Gresens (2 digs, 3 blocks); Partlow (3 digs); Easton (3 digs)