Marion Center stings the Lady Chucks

MARION CENTER — Marion Center's girls' volleyball team defeated the Lady Chucks in three sets, 25-16, 25-14, 25-22, behind strong serving and hitting from senior Kristen Yeomans.

Yeomans' serve was kryptonite to Punxsy's returners as she served a seven-point streak in the first set, a seven-point streak in the second and an eight-point streak in the third and deciding set.

Each run came early in the game, giving the Lady Stingers some breathing room in the contest. Without Yeomans' streaks, the sets would have been very close from start to finish.

In the first set, the Lady Chucks answered back after Marion Center jumped out to an 18-7 lead, and Shayla Brink went on a seven-point run of her own to bring Punxsy within four points.

Strong serving from Jenna Straw and two aces from sophomore Chantel Glasser helped the Lady Stingers seal the first game, 25-16.

In the second game, the Lady Chucks never seemed to regain their rhythm after Yeomans put Marion Center ahead 11-4.

Despite a four-point rally by Chelsea Engeholm for Punxsy, the Lady Stingers ran away with the set, winning by a final score of 25-14.

Despite another early lead in the third set, Punxsy battled back and made the deciding game an interesting one.

The Lady Stingers led 12-4, but Engeholm scored three points and Cassie Cook scored four to bring the score back to 15-13 in favor of Marion Center.

After exchanging serves and even breaking Yeomans' serve, the Lady Chucks seemed to be on the comeback.

Despite a late three-point rally by Cook, though, time ran out on Punxsy's comeback and the Lady Stingers claimed the third set, a hard fought one, 25-22.

In the junior varsity contest, the Lady Chucks fell in three close sets to the Lady Stingers, 25-23, 22-25, 15-11.

Punxsy trailed by eight points early in the first set, but Jensen Constantino went on a five-point run, including three aces to bring Punxsy back within two.

On their next rotation, though, the Lady Chucks were called for an illegal substitution, as the referees said the official score books both said Constantino had never served.

Punxsy head coach Megan Decker said it was unfortunate that the call went the way it did, as it seemed to break the Lady Chucks momentum and the Lady Stingers prevailed 25-23 in Set No. 1.

Madison Neal led the way for the Lady Chucks at the net with three kills in the first game, while Isabella Gallina, Hailey Brady, Constantino and Nicole DiPietro each added one kill.

Defensively, Emily Reitz shined bright with eleven digs, and added two aces offensively.

Punxsy bounced right back in the second set, though.

After trailing 3-0, Punxsy started inching closer and closer, eventually taking the lead at 9-2 on a serve by Sydney Phillips.

Phillips served two more points, including an ace, and despite relinquishing the lead late, Punxsy's Ivy Phillips sealed the deal when she took the score from an 18-18 tie to 18-24 and game point for the Lady Chucks before being broken.

Two points later, Punxsy earned a side out and the win, converting on a back-and-forth play and capitalizing on the Lady Stingers being out of position because of their scrambling.

Decker said she was "very pleased" with the way her younger players performed in the second set, noting that five freshmen played and did exactly what they were supposed to do en route to earning the win.

In the deciding set to 15 points, Punxsy led as late as 9-8, but Marion Center junior Heidi Peterson served for five unanswered points to give the Lady Stingers the lead, and a quick dump on the second hit on game point gave Marion Center the 15-11 win in Set No. 3.

Both Decker and Punxsy varsity head coach Lisa Kephart said that although they would have liked to win, they know Marion Center always has a good team.

The Lady Chucks hope to bounce back tonight when they host the Lady Owls of Bradford.