The Vikings, despite losing game one, stormed back to win the next three in rallying past crosstown rival Janesville Craig in a Big Eight Conference clash in the crowded Cougar gymnasium.
Pink was prevalent throughout the gym as the “Volley for the Cure” fundraiser benefitted the Susan G. Koman breast cancer foundation.
Parker (3-4 in the Big Eight) looked out of synch in losing the first game 25-17, but re-grouped and dominated play in games two and four. The Vikings are now 11-5 on the road this season.
“For some reason, we seemed to be a little more relaxed on the road,” Parker High coach Dave Lehmann said.
“We don’t have a one-person or two-person team, but we have a ton of kids who hustle their tails off. We’re not nearly as big as some other Big Eight teams, but we jump well and are aggressive at the net. That’s why we’ve had some success.”
The two teams traded wins in games one and two before the Vikings seized control with a 25-23 win in game three. Craig (3-4) raced out to a 7-1 lead, but Parker rallied and eventually tied the game at 16-16 as Katie Godding scored five straight points while serving.
The game went back and forth after that before Parker’s Ashley Hartwig ended things with a thunderous spike that gave the Vikings a 25-23 lead.
“Game three was the one that really hurt,” Craig High coach Blake Budrow said. “We had a nice lead and then the wheels came off.
“It’s disappointing to not come out of here with a win, but it was still a great event for the community. We just needed to play a little better.”
Needing one game to to win the match, Parker dominated in game four. Leading 8-6, the Vikings rattled off seven straight points behind the serving of Ashley Ross. The Cougars got no closer than seven the rest of the way as the Vikings won game four, 25-14.
“We just have to learn to play more consistently each and every game,” Lehmann said. “Our kids don’t give up, and they play hard. They believe in what we’re trying to do, and when the light bulbs went off tonight, we played pretty well after that.”
Parker had three players in double figures with kills. Paige Demos led the way with 18, Hartwig added 14 and Samantha Shelton had 12. Ross finished with 43 assists, while the jump serve of Nicole Popovich had the Cougars guessing all night as the senior finished with four aces. Lindsey Hoff also served well for Parker, as she also finished with four aces.
Amber Bovenmyer had 12 kills for Craig, while Emma Becher and Katie Villa had 12 and 11 assists, respectively.
Janesville Parker 17 25 25 25
Janesville Craig 25 13 23 14
Parker (aces, kills, assists)—Paige Demos, 0-18-1; Sarah Krauter, 0-8-0; Natalie McDonald, 1-0-0; Erika Whitson, 0-1-0; Samantha Shelton, 1-12-0; Lindsey Hoff, 4-0-0; Ashley Hartwig, 0-14-5; Nicole Popovich, 4-1-1; Katie Godding, 1-9-1; Ashley Ross, 0-4-43.
Craig (aces, kills, assists)—Celia Hansen, 2-0-0; Ina Pruzinskis, 0-9-0; Regan Sitorius, 2-2-0; Amber Bovenmyer, 0-12-0; Michelle Straw, 0-4-0; Emma Becher, 1-1-2; Emily Hinman, 0-2-0; Katie Villa, 1-1-11.