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Pushed to the brink, Slicers prevail

August 16, 2017 GMT

PLYMOUTH — The last time La Porte’s volleyball team played on Plymouth High School’s court, it won last year’s sectional. The familiar setting was beneficial for the Slicers again, though it wasn’t easy.

La Porte outlasted the Pilgrims in five games, 25-21, 25-22, 15-25, 22-25, 15-12, in the Slicers’ season opener on Tuesday night.

Plymouth won two straight games to force a decisive fifth game.

La Porte’s Maddy Dowty recalls what the coaches said to the team after Game 4.

“They said, ‘If you want to want it, bring it, this is all you,’” Dowty said.

“It feels great,” she added about claiming the season-opening win.

In the fifth game, the Slicers (1-0) never trailed and jumped ahead 6-0.

They used stalwart team play and Reilly Briggs was pivotal at the net. They led by as much as seven in that game, but the Pilgrims (0-1) cut the margin to 14-12 late. La Porte closed the contest and the match after Briggs’ kill, 15-12.

“We played pretty good in Game 5,” Slicers’ coach Cassie Holmquest said. “It took us a while to get going. But when we finally kicked it into gear, we looked great. When we’re in system, we look really good.”

In Game 1, La Porte fell behind as many as five, 15-10. But it battled back and tied it, 16-16, going on a 10-1 run to go ahead 20-16.

Briggs had several kills in the spurt, as the Slicers dictated play more. La Porte claimed the opening game, 25-21, after a Pilgrims’ double-hit violation. Dowty was reliable offensively in that game as well.

In the second game, the Slicers controlled it from the start. They jumped ahead 7-2 behind Cheyanne Seymour and Briggs. La Porte nursed that lead the rest of that game, and hung on to win it, 25-22, following Plymouth’s wide kill. Annalise Warnock also had some timely kills in Game 2.

The Pilgrims quickly took command in Game 3, building an 11-2 cushion. They captured that contest, 25-15.

In the fourth game, Kara Cooper’s hitting and serving allowed the Slicers to go ahead 15-12. They also took advantage of Plymouth’s mistakes. But the home team stormed back, tied it 17-17, and claimed that game, 25-22, to force Game 5.

Briggs led La Porte with 14 kills, and she came alive in the pivotal fifth game.

"I just knew this was in me," Briggs said. "I could do a lot better than this. I need to do better for my team, for my coach, for everyone."

Dowty and Seymour each had eight kills. Gillian Santana earned 24 digs, and Warnock had 21 digs.

“Maddy Dowty played really well,” Holmquest said. “Cheyanne (Seymour) stepped up and played well tonight. When she connected with the block, she did really well. Reilly (Briggs) was in a lull for a little bit, but she picked it up in the end.”

La Porte’s junior varsity prevailed in three games.