Friday, October 22, 2004

Minico?s middles wear down WR spikers

For Great Basin crown

Express Staff Writer

Minico?s middle hitters Mary Fennell and Megan Whitlock were too much at crunch time for a weary bunch of Wood River High School volleyball players?and Minico swept to the Great Basin Conference West tournament title Tuesday in Hailey.

Led by Whitlock (11 kills), Fennell (8 kills) and Wendy Meiners (8 kills), the #2-seeded Spartans pulled away in the "if necessary" deciding match of the double elimination tournament with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 victory over the top-seeded Wolverines (19-15).

"We hung with them but just tired out," said Hailey coach Tim Richards.

Earlier Tuesday, Wood River had stayed alive with an excellent blocking effort and had forced an extra match with a dominating 26-24, 25-16, 25-18 triumph over Minico, a team with eight seniors. Wood River?s only senior starter Syringa Stark (11 kills, 3 blocks, 14 serves) led the way.

In its winning effort against Minico the Wolverines took away the middle with strong blocking by Stark, Hannah Richards, Kelsey Lidstrom (6 kills) and Jackie Safran (5 kills). Serving came in handy as Jamie Stone (17 serves) dished out 10 straight winners and Leah McIlhenny (13 serves, 2 aces, 8 assists) added six straight winners.

Wood River played eight games Tuesday before reaching the title match, since the Wolverines defeated #3-seeded Jerome 16-25, 25-22, 25-15, 19-25, 15-9 in the night?s first match.

Against Jerome, Lidstrom served eight consecutive winners in the third-game win, then McIlhenny (12 assists) dished out seven in a row in the 15-9 deciding game. Stark (8 kills) added three blocks for points in the final game. Other contributors were Hannah Richards (8 kills), Jamie Stone (6 kills) and Dani Stone (15 assists).

Minico earned an automatic berth in the State 4A tournament Oct. 29 at Bonneville High, Idaho Falls.

Wood River tried to stay alive Thursday night with a loser-out playoff game against Preston at Century High School in Pocatello. Later Thursday in a match for state seeding between district champions at Century, Minico clashed with Fifth District champion Century, a 26-24, 25-12, 25-21 winner over Preston?s twin towers Kylie Griffeth and Brittany Wilcox Tuesday.

If Wood River defeated Preston Thursday, the Hailey girls will play a state play-in match against the Sixth District runner-up Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Highland in Pocatello.

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