LAGRANGE — Chloe Irish didn’t lead her team in kills. She only led in important kills.
Irish, a 5-foot-8 junior, had 13 kills for Keystone on Saturday. That was fewer than the 18 kills Kari Kincannon had for the Wildcats. But Irish came up with the ones that saved the evening for Keystone in a four-game victory over non-conference rival Midview.
The Wildcats stayed perfect through five matches by winning 25-15, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-17. The Middies dropped to 4-2.
Irish had three straight kills in Game 3 that enabled Keystone to erase a 21-20 deficit. She had four in a row in Game 4 that lifted the Wildcats to a 24-16 lead. She added a final kill to win that game and end the match.
“That’s what she’s capable of doing,” Keystone coach Dave Cross said. “This was the first for Chloe to put it all together for a whole match.
“What I really liked about Chloe tonight was that she cut down on the hitting errors,” Cross added. “She only had one error. If she can do that, with her strength, she will be such a positive force.”
Kincannon, the 6-1 all-stater, was the positive force in Keystone’s easy victory in the opening game with six kills and a block kill. The ‘Cats were never in serious trouble after bolting to a 8-2 lead.
“That (first game) was the best we’ve played for that long,” Cross said. “We did a lot right. The second game showed we’re not as consistent as we should be.”
Midview pulled away from an 8-8 tie with five straight points and cruised to victory in Game 2.
“We have to take a little time to get adjusted,” Midview coach Debbie Borsz said. “That is not a part of our plan. It’s just the way we are.
“I took little notes to see what we could do to give Keystone something more difficult to handle,” Borsz said. “In the final game we didn’t give them a more difficult time. We didn’t execute the way we needed to execute. We executed in the second game and in the third. In the final game we gave them too many free balls.”
Keystone rallied from a 12-7 deficit in Game 3 to take leads of 16-14 and 20-18. The Middies came back with three straight points to go ahead 21-20 before Irish and Krysten Johnson (85-of-86 setting) went to work.
Irish had kills to give Keystone its 22nd and 23rd points. A kill by Erica Gregory made the score 24-21. A bad serve was followed by Gregory’s kill that land just to the good side of the back line and Keystone has a 2-1 lead in games.
“That comeback in the third game was huge,” Cross said.
Keystone was in control for most of the fourth game. The Wildcats scored six unanswered points to go ahead 9-3 and led 15-6 at one time. The Middies fought to within 20-16 before Irish registered a block kill to stifle Midview’s rally. She had three straight kills after that putting Keystone within a point of victory.
The Wildcats gave Midview one more point, on a kill by Kelsey Voit, before Irish’s final kill concluded the match.
Johnson had 39 assists and Gregory had 15 digs and six kills. Casidy Gregory, a freshman, added eight kills for Keystone.
Lauren Gauvreau and Jacki Street led Midview in hitting with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Hannah Duran had 39 assists. The Middies served 11 aces in the first three games, but none in the final contest.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.