Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


October 19, 2013

Neoga Stuns Altamont to Advance to Gold Flight

Neoga's backs were against the wall for the first berth into the National Trail Conference tournament gold flight.

The Indians trailed Altamont 19-14 in the third set when they took over service when Altamont served it into the net.

From there, Kellie Kastl took over, keying a 9-0 service run and 10-0 run overall to put Neoga up 24-19. While Altamont made it 24-21, Taylor Gresens ended the game with a kill and put Neoga into the Gold Flight.

Neoga fell to the top seeds (Stew-Stras, St. Anthony, Altamont) throughout the regular season, but took out Altamont to win Pool C 20-25, 25-11, 25-21.

"I thought as whole, this was our best effort as a team," said Neoga coach Reeni Letizia. "This was a big game for them. Finally, putting it all together for themselves. They didn't panic at any point of the game, and that was the key to getting a win."

While Altamont controlled play early, coach Tim Dooling never felt his team found its rhythm.

"We never got in sync the whole night," he said. "We were playing as hard as we could play and not playing well."

After the first-set loss, Neoga got going on a number of errors by Altamont and big play at the net by Courtney Croy, who would score the last two points of the set on a block and a kill.

Altamont seized momentum in the second set early, taking an 8-7 lead and pushing it out to 19-14 before the big rally. During the run, Jillian Deters and Gresens each had two points, while Kastl had an ace.

Croy had 10 kills and seven blocks, Deters had nine kills and four digs, Gresens had two aces, Demmie Long tallied 24 assists and Olivia Ott added six kills and 14 digs of her own.

Now, the fourth-seeded Indians move on to the gold flight with Stew-Stras and St. Anthony tonight, playing Stew-Stras at 5 p.m. and St. Anthony at 6 p.m. at the Enlow Center.

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