September 3, 2015

JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Already trailing two sets to one in Game 4, the John A. Logan College volleyball team found itself backed to the wall, down 9-3.

But this young, inexperienced Volunteers squad refused to quit. Led by freshman outside hitter Annie Wehrheim of Woodlawn, Logan got back in the game and won the fourth set, 25-22, to force a deciding fifth set.

The Vols dominated play in the final stanza, winning 15-3 and capturing the best-of-five match, three sets to two: 25-22, 27-29, 13-25, 25-22, 15-3.

Wehrheim paced the offense with a stunning 19 kills. 
“I just tried to do the best I could to put the ball in play,” she said modestly. “When I am hitting over the top of the ball like I did tonight, I know I’m jumping high and have a good approach with my hits.”

Wehrheim, who is described as a Division I talent by Vols head coach Bill Burnside, said she and her teammates weren’t about to give up once they fell behind.

“We knew what we had to do to win,” she said. “We didn’t want Lake Land to beat us on our home floor. This was a big win for us. I really love playing the game, and love playing it here at Logan. I have most definitely elevated my level of play from high school.”

Sophomore rightside hitter Chynna Byars was next best in kills with six. Freshman middle hitter Cheyenne Pitchford, a Sesser-Valier grad, was tops in blocks with six. Freshman libero Ali Amici had the most defensive digs with 12.

Freshman Caroline Rogers was tops in assists from her setter’s position with 20. Sophomore setter Christy Hayden of Benton followed with 12.

Burnside was pleased with his team’s comeback.

“Lake Land is always a very scrappy team. They have a lot of size and aggressive hitters,” he said. “We were up and down tonight, but I like the fact that we hung in there. We didn’t give up. There was a point where we looked frustrated and done, which is why it was so gratifying to see the girls fight their way through it and win this match."

Burnside said his team simply has to be more diverse on offense in order to improve.

“Annie had an outstanding match and showed why we recruited her, but we need more balance. We can’t always count on Annie to carry us. We need more from our sophomore hitters. I think it’s just about being more aggressive and getting to every ball they can.”

Burnside said defending the home turf in the conference race was a key.

“It’s great to pull this one out, because it puts us in such a great situation as far as the league goes,” he said. “If we hadn’t gotten this win tonight, we would have been in a bad way. It was absolutely a must win and I’m impressed with how we scrapped and fought to win it.”

With the victory, the Vols improve to 2-0 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and 4-3 overall. Lake Land falls to 0-2 in the league and 4-5 overall.

Logan will play host to a three-team tournament beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday against Lindenwood-Belleville and McKendree. Next conference match is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rend Lake.

 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.