72° F Sunday, May 28, 2017

By Steve Habel
Correspondent

The regulation height of the net for girls high school volleyball is seven feet, 4 1/8th inches but for Anderson win Tuesday night, it must have seemed 10-feet tall in Westlake’s 25-14, 25-18, 25-14.

The Chaps’ towering front line, led in the middle by the 6 -3 Katie Daffer and the 6 -4 Anna Christine Parrish and on the right by the 6 -3 Kat Turman, repelled almost every Anderson attack, recording block after block during the crucial District 15-5A match.

Every time an Anderson player jumped to try for a kill, the Westlake blockers were there, usually in pairs. Daffer led the Chaps’ front line with five blocks and Parrish and Turman had two each.

“That was the plan, to double at the net to force them to try to hit around us,” Parrish said. “We had a height advantage on Anderson and they don’t have anyone that can really get up, so the strategy worked.”

The win kept Westlake (13-17 overall and 3-0 in district play) undefeated in 15-5A and on track for its showdown on Friday with Austin High, who entered Tuesday as the district’s only other team without a league loss.

Westlake coach Al Bennett was happy with his team’s high hitting percentage, a showing that produced just three errors in the three-game sweep.

“We have been focusing on making sure the opposition has to work for every point,” Bennett said. “By keeping down our hitting errors and blocking the way we did tonight it has to put pressure on the opponent. We had just about everything going our way tonight.”

The Chaps trailed only once in the match – at 0-1 at the start of the second set. Grace Weghorst led the Chaps with 12 kills despite playing with injuries to both her hands. Westlake also got five kills apiece from Corinne Grandcolas and Meagan Mellenbruch while Mellenbruch and Cristie Ingram had nine digs each.

Westlake’s dual setters – Molly Smith and Madison Borowski – had 18 and 14 assists, respectively.

Anderson’s Honor Baker and Tory Paranagua led the Lady Trojans (18-12 overall, 2-2 in 15-5A play) with seven kills each; Paranagua also contributed on defense with a game-high 11 digs.

Turman said that the Chaps have begun to come together after a rocky start to the season.

“It took us a little while for us to find our stride, but we understand how important it is to play well in district and we are doing much better,” Turman said. “Tonight, we wanted to make sure Anderson was forced into playing our game – hopefully, we can continue to play this way.”

Bennett, in his 25th year as Westlake’s head coach, believes that the pre-district schedule forced his players to grow up and that his team can be a force as the 15-5A season continues.

“We knew all along that this team would struggle some at the first of the year, and we did,” Bennett said. “Now is the time to put together all that we have learned. I was very happy with the way we played tonight, but we still have plenty of work to do.”

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