Lyle-Pacelli takes step ;br; forward in conference race

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 10, 1999

It’s still early, but the combination of Pacelli’s volleyball program with Lyle’s is already making an impact.

Friday, September 10, 1999

It’s still early, but the combination of Pacelli’s volleyball program with Lyle’s is already making an impact.

Email newsletter signup

Led by senior Melissa Ehret, Lyle-Pacelli downed Southland in four competitive games, 15-12, 6-15,16-14, 15-6.

The new-look Lyle-Pacelli squad has already equaled Lyle’s victory total from a year ago (2) and Thursday’s nail-biter over Southland was the first time a team with Lyle girls had beaten the Rebels in any sport since 1991.

More important than bragging rights, the win leaves Lyle-Pacelli as front runners in the Southeast Conference West Division. Lyle-Pacelli (2-0)

"This should give us a leg up," Lyle-Pacelli coach Norm Blaser said of the conference race.

Southland (0-3), last year’s West Division champ, remains winless this year after three tough losses. The Rebels opened the year with a loss after four games to a much larger school in Albert Lea and went five games with Caledonia, Lyle-Pacelli’s next opponent Tuesday.

"We didn’t play up to the way we should have played," Southland coach Barry Brobeck said. "They made the plays we should have made. That was the difference. They wanted it more."

Blaser said the Caledonia match will be another good test.

"These are the type matches every coach wants because they make teams stronger," Blaser said of the win over Southland. "It turns kids into good players."

Lyle-Pacelli led the first game 9-3 at one point before Southland rallied to tie it up 12-12. Jesse Schnieder was serving when Lyle-Pacelli scored the final two points of the game.

In the second game, Southland built a 9-0 lead on the serving of Heather Irvin and Sally Chilman, and cruised to victory in the shortest game the night.

The third game turned out to be the most decisive. Southland built a 8-3 lead, but Lyle-Pacelli crept back into the game on four straight points with Amy Bickler serving. Bickler had 20 set assists on the night to lead Lyle-Pacelli. Julie Rugg was next with 13.

After several lead changes, the game was tied 14-14 when Rugg served for the final two points. About half of the packed gymnasium at Lyle High School, rose to their feet in celebration after sophomore Laura Nelson made an emphatic kill to end the game.

After a slow start in the fourth game, Lyle-Pacelli eventually pulled away for the win behind Ehret, who had three of her five services aces in the fourth game.

Heather Irvin had 27 set assists to lead Southland. Amber Ihrke had nine kills and Erin Orvik had nine digs for the other top players for the Rebels.

Joni Sheedy had 15 kills to lead Lyle-Pacelli. Nelson had 13 and Ehret added 11.

Ehret was also the home team’s most successful server (15-16) for eight points and also a force on defense with 19 digs.

Southland next plays at the Kenyon-Wanamingo Tournament on Saturday.