SYRACUSE – The Tippecanoe Valley Lady Vikings pushed past errors and pulled out a high school volleyball win Tuesday.

In a match that featured plenty of mistakes on both sides, the Lady Vikings topped host Wawasee 3-1 in a non-conference match.

Valley won by game scores of 25-16, 14-25, 27-25 and 25-20.

Valley coach Mallory Eaton noted team depth – nine seniors and 18 total players – as a difference maker.

“We’re getting past that one-trick pony,” Eaton said. “We’ve got a lot of different options, and that’s really refreshing as a coach.”

The match was tied at 1 heading into what proved to be a heart-pounding third game. Valley held a 17-13 lead before the Lady Warriors (1-1) scored four straight to even things up.

The Lady Vikings (1-0) responded with a run of their own, winning five straight points, bolstered by Hannah Engstrand’s serving.

Once again, Wawasee responded, earning seven of the next nine points to even the score at 24.

Valley’s Sophie Bussard slammed home a kill, but a serving error again tied the score at 25. Back-to-back kills by Shayleigh Shriver and Makenzie Woodcox sealed the 27-25 win and gave the Lady Vikings a match lead they didn’t relinquish.

“It’s just that desire,” Eaton said. “You can’t teach desire, you can’t teach passion, so I think (our seniors) finally are just like, ‘hey, this is our last chance,’ and I think they just dig deep and do it.”

The Lady Warriors stayed close in the final game, but multiple Wawasee serving errors midway through the match gave the Lady Vikings a lead they rode to victory.

Both Eaton and Wawasee coach Kayla Riportella acknowledged that early-season rust was a factor in the match.  

“(Playing Valley) is an area where we get to see all the quirks in our rosters, and I like it because we get to see it early,” Riportella said.  

Valley came out strong, pulling away midway through a close Game 1 for the win.

“One of the things that I told (my players) was that Tippy was going to show up and play, and they had to be ready for that,” said Riportella. “And they weren’t quite awake when the match started.”

Riportella was impressed by her team’s burst of energy at the end of the first game, which was carried into Game 2. The Lady Warriors started on an 8-1 run in the second game and used that momentum to even the match score.

“We went out with a purpose the next set, and we took charge,” Riportella said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold that momentum for the rest of the match.”

Valley’s JV team defeated Wawasee by game scores of 25-22, 25-22.



TIPPECANOE VALLEY def. WAWASEE 25-16, 14-25, 27-25, 25-20

Valley: Kills – Sophie Bussard 15. Assists – Hannah Engstrand 11, Sarah Myers 11. Digs – Bussard 13. Blocks – Bussard 4. Aces – Bussard 4.

Wawasee: Kills – Madi Simmons 10 kills, Elizabeth Kleopfer 7 kills, 4 aces, Molly Jones 5 kills. Assists – Kleopfer 17 assists, Ashley Vazquez 7 assists. Digs – Brooke Heche 12 digs, Simmons 8 digs, Peyton Rookstool 6 digs.

JV – Valley def. Wawasee 25-22, 25-22

Valley: Kills – Sidney Wagner 3. Assists – Macy Kirchenstien. Blocks – Mallory Durkes 2. Aces – Brayden Baney 5.