By RYAN CZACHORSKI Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — TEUTOPOLIS — After starting the season with a rough 0-2 record, the Teutopolis volleyball team turned up the competition in practice.
It’s worked to the Lady Shoes’ advantage as they’ve gone 4-2 since, and their competitive spirit showed in a 25-17, 25-22 win over Sullivan at home Tuesday night.
“We’ve been coming into practice and really sitting on competition,” said Teutopolis coach Jessica Schackmann. “They didn’t come in and push for the win, and now they’re starting to. “
Teutopolis trailed 17-16 in both sets, but roared back in each. After briefly falling behind in the first set, the Lady Shoes rattled off the final nine points of the set, thanks to solid play at the net by Ashley Westjohn, Michelle Schmidt and Julie Wente, plus a pair of aces by Katelyn Ruholl.
Just like that, the tables had turned on the Sullivan Redskins.
To their credit, the Redskins did recover after the disappointing end to the first set, battling hard for the entirety of the second set. They led throughout most of it, grabbing three to four point leads multiple times. Sullivan led 12-8 and 16-13 before Teutopolis roared backeach time.
The Lady Shoes grabbed the lead at 18-17 on a long spike attempt by Sullivan and never looked back. Lucy Niemerg and Kayla Kroeger stepped up to give the Shoes a three point lead, and Michelle Schmidt smashed home the final two points to clinch the 25-22 win.
Schmidt leaned back and screamed after both of her kills, serving as a rallying cry for the Shoes and their effort.
“I like it,” Schackmann said. “She really helps lift the team when she gets into it.”
Schmidt finished the game with five kills, tying for the team lead with Lucy Niemerg. Katelyn Ruholl led the team with 11 assists and three acres.
Julie Wente had eight digs, Niemerg had five and Lacy Ludwig had four in a game where the Shoes flew all over the court and put their bodies into a hard-fought win.
“They’ve been working really hard to get that competitive edge, and it really paid off tonight,” Schackmann said. “hat was our goal tonight, winning in two. They really finished it at the end.”
The Shoes now sit at 4-4 overall after a 3-2 mark at the Casey-Westfield tournament this past weekend and a first-place finish in the bronze pool.
They’ll have their work cut out for them Thursday night, when they host a strong St. Elmo/Brownstown program at 6 p.m.
Sullivan 17 22
Teutopolis 25 25
Teutopolis: Schmidt (5 kills, 2 digs, 2 aces); Niemerg (5 kills, 1 assist, 5 digs); Westjohn (4 kills, 3 assists, 2 digs); Wente (1 kill, 8 digs, 2 aces); Ruholl (11 assists, 3 digs, 3 aces); Ludwig (4 digs)