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Cougars overcome slow start to win rivalry match

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John Barry
October 8, 2013

JANESVILLE--Not even a slow start could derail Janesville Craig’s volleyball team Tuesday night.

Despite trailing 11-8 in the first game of a Big Eight Conference match against Janesville Parker, Craig rallied to win the game and coasted to wins in games two and three for a 3-0 victory. The Cougars won by scores of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-9.

Craig finished the conference dual-meet season with a 5-4 record. Parker slipped to 2-7.

In beating its crosstown rival for the second time in four days, Craig sent a message that it will be a tough out come tournament time.

“We knew we can play with anybody that we might come up against,” Craig coach Blake Budrow said. “We’ve proven that all year long. Our record was only 5-4 in conference, but we played good matches against everybody ahead of us.

“We’ve played our best volleyball the last week or so, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

Craig played sloppy in game one against Parker and trailed 11-8. The Cougars eventually cut the deficit to 13-12 and took the lead for good on five straight service points from Haleigh Salemi.

Games two and three were all Cougars. The home team jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the second game and raced out to a 6-0 lead in game three.

“We’re in the process of changing the culture of this program, and there are some growing pains right now,” Parker coach Kathy Bullis said. “We did some good things early and had some momentum in game one, but then we gave it right back.

“Craig made some adjustments, and we just didn’t respond like we needed to.”

McKenzie Bertagnoli was a beast at the net for Craig. The junior middle hitter finished with a match-high 16 kills. Salemi and freshman Jenna Brandt combined for four aces each.

Craig hosts Monroe in a nonconference match Monday. Parker is off until the Big Eight Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 19.

CRAIG 3, PARKER 0

Janesville Parker         19       14                                  9

Janesville Craig           25       25                                25

Craig (aces, kills, assists)—Melanie Tinker, 0-0-10; Haleigh Salemi, 4-0-0; Kayley Hackett, 0-0-19; Kourtney Kell, 0-2-0; Lauren Hoffarth, 0-0-1; Ali Calkins, 0-8-0; Gabby Loveland, 3-0-0; Haley Updike, 0-1-0; Aly Raymond, 0-7-0; McKenzie Bertagnoli, 0-16-0; Jenna Brandt, 4-0-1; Annie Schumacher, 1-1-0.

n Parker’s final statistics were unavailable.



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