LAPEL — The Lapel Lady Bulldogs seemed primed to pull off an upset Tuesday night as they hosted the Pendleton Heights Lady Arabians in volleyball action, but came up short in a 3-1 loss.
The Lady Bulldogs came out fired up after the Lapel junior varsity scored a 15-14 win in the third set after trailing 14-10.
The Lady ‘Dogs scrapped with Pendleton throughout the first set with neither team enjoying a lead larger than two points until Lapel went on a 7-0 run to take a 17-10 lead.
Pendleton appeared to struggle a bit out of the gate, something coach Stefanie Ammirata chalked up to rest. “I would attribute it to I gave them a four-day weekend,” Ammirata said of the break. “They had not played since Thursday.” Lapel continued its strong play to finish off the first set with a 25-16 win.
Pendleton came out in set two fired up, racing to a 7-2 lead.
Lapel was able to trim the advantage to 7-5 but Pendleton scored 18 of the final 22 points to win the set 25-9. According to Ammirata, the first set was the lesson the Lady Arabians needed. “They realized it’s not how they want to play,” Ammirata said of the first set.
For Lapel, coach Hillary Eppert felt the match got away in the second. “We got down early and they got in our heads a bit,” Eppert said.
Lapel got out to a 9-6 lead in the third set but after a timeout, Pendleton rattled off six straight points to lead 12-9 and went on to win 25-13.
Momentum plays a big part in the game of volleyball and Pendleton was able to seize control with the timeout. “Anything can change in this game at any second,” Eppert said. “We just got down again. We have to get mentally stronger and keep pushing hard.”
Pendleton left little doubt in the third, jumping out to an 11-4 lead and holding on to win 25-16 to take the match.
Pendleton (7-2) will host Zionsville on Monday while Lapel (3-5) travels to Cardinal Ritter today for an Indiana Crossroads Conference match. For both teams, it is a preview of the county tournament, which is set to begin Thursday.
“We’ve played three county teams so we understand we have to play our ‘A’ game,” Ammirata said.
Eppert felt this match will help Lapel in the county tourney. “Absolutely. Believing you can and knowing you can, it’s one thing to believe you can but it is another to do it.”