The young Portage Indians put up a fight and refused to go down easily against the Lake Central Indians on Thursday night. The largely freshmen and sophomore led team worked together as a unit to give Lake Central a run for their money as each player left it all on the court. Fans from Portage and Lake Central filled the stands giving both teams the edge they needed.
Portage head coach, Allison Bachman, and her team of Indians have just come off a tough loss against La Porte, and Bachman knew this match wasn’t going to be any easier. This year, the team is focused on rebuilding, allowing each new player to grow into her role on the team.
“My biggest thing is, because we’re a young team, we need to practice staying mentally tough and focused on the game,” said Bachman. “I know that our girls are going to fight really hard, and that’s all I can ask of them, to fight and stay mentally tough.”
The Portage team is facing a string of illnesses going around and not to mention senior setter, Alyssa Kennedy, being out with a concussion. But junior captain Alivia Ealy, wasn’t going to let that bring her team down.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot and that my team is coming together finally,” said Ealy. “I always try to stay positive and bring everybody up when everybody is feeling down, and that helps us build together as a team, which helps us on the court.”
For Lake Central, it was all about staying strong. The team faced a couple of close losses recently and were in need of turning things around and getting healthier. Like Portage, illness has also plagued Lake Central High School, keeping a few key players home sick from Thursday’s game.
“If we’re serving well and passing the ball, our offense is solid and we have confidence in that,” said Head Coach Matt Clark. “We just need to turn our health improvement into team cohesion because if we’re playing well as a team, then we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Senior captain for Lake Central, Sam Hurubean, kept her team confident going into tonight’s game, even with the loss of a key player. According to Hurubean, the team is one big family, which helps them work together flawlessly on the court.
“We’re missing one of our middles today so we’re going to have to work around that,” said Hurubean. “But we’ve had a pretty good season so far so if we’re all confident, work together, and talk on the court, I think we’ll do well tonight.”
Each set started neck and neck with the teams volleying points back and forth. For each of the three sets played, however, Lake Central found the power within to take a strong lead and keep it. With Lake Central taking the first two sets 25-13 and 25-14, Portage did everything they could to force a fourth set. The crowd got louder, the gym was pounding, but alas, Lake Central took home the win 3 sets to 0 with the final set score of 25-18.