Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL


November 1, 2013

Comets overcome Neoga for regional title


DIETERICH — Knop and Kaufman nearly collided going for a set near the net, ahead 23-21. The taller Kaufman got her hands on a light set and Knop reached to tip it inches over the net, dropping in for a point.

“I thought I was going to be called for a carry,” said Knop, who had eight kills in the match. “I got my hands on it just enough.”

Neoga head coach Reeni Letizia said Knop's tip was one of many points that fell Stew-Stras' way during the Comets' comeback win in the second set, 25-21.

Becca Schlechte finished a number of tips over the net, including one that put the Comets within one point of a first-set win; however, Neoga battled to extend the first set, taking the lead twice and tying the game twice after Stew-Stras scored to take a 24-21 lead.

Neoga scored four straight points, trailing 24-21, to move into the drivers seat, serving with a chance to steal the first set that Stew-Stras led the whole way until the Indians' 25-24 lead.

“They wont give up and that's something that's in this group of girls,” Letizia said. “Whether it turned out the way they wanted or not, I was just real proud of the way they came out and tried to win.”

Neoga came within one point of a win again, after Stew-Stras tied the first set 25-25, but the Comets scored two consecutive points and couldn't put the game away without a 27-27 tie. They scored the last two points to win, 29-27.

Stew-Stras clinched the regional championship with the win and a spot in Tuesday's Arcola Sectional against Tri-County, which Brittani Tabbert said is right where the Comets want to be.

“We've worked really hard,” said Tabbert, who had a team-high 10 kills. “After we lost (the National Trail Conference championship to St. Anthony), we told ourselves we're going to win the regional because of losing in the NTC.”

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