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Argyle nets big 5-set win over Pec to open playoffs
Argyles Kayla Ostby, left, and Abby Flanagan embrace Tuesdays playoff win over Pecatonica.
ARGYLE - Argyle junior Danielle Treuthardt knows that every time the Orioles play Pecatonica in volleyball it's a battle.

"We are really strong rivals," Treuthardt said after the Orioles stormed back after dropping the first two sets to pull out a thrilling 22-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-10 win in a WIAA Division 4 regional. "I don't know if that's it or if we have to make it a good game. I'm so happy. We haven't passed the first round of regionals in so long."

The Orioles overcame some struggles serving to win the match and now move on to play No. 1 seed Southwestern Friday. The Orioles had six of their 14 service errors in the first set.

The Vikings made the plays when they needed to in the first two games. Pecatonica sophomore Lizzy Britt had a block late in the first game to tie it at 22. From there, the Orioles self-destructed, hitting two balls out and one into the net. Pecatonica senior Molly Whitford scored four straight service points at the end of the first game to seal it.

"In the first two games we had a horrible number of unforced errors," Argyle coach Shane Johnson said. "That really took us out of it. We were fortunate to even be competitive."

The Vikings jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the second game that featured a kill by senior Ellie Gifford. Argyle battled back with five consecutive points and took a 12-11 lead on Treuthardt's ace off a jump serve. Gifford, who had 21 assists, 10 kills and four aces, delivered six consecutive points including three aces to help the Vikings take a 20-16 lead.

Argyle junior Micala Peterson came through with a spike late in the second game to tie it at 22. Pecatonica senior Nicole Dearth then hit one that just skimmed over the net and Gifford found a hole with a perfectly placed set to the back row for the victory.

"Confident, but not satisfied," Pecatonica coach Cher Schliem said was her thought process after the Vikings swept the first two games. "We had visions of history repeating itself."

Even after losing the second game, Johnson noticed a turning point with a change in mentality of one of his hitters.

"A big momentum swing came when Cortney Gilbertson started swinging away," Johnson said. "She went from tipping the ball to spots to hitting the ball with authority and that really worked for her."

Gilbertson had five of her match-high 12 kills in the second set.

The Orioles jumped out to a 7-4 lead in a must-win third game. Treuthardt scored five straight service points, including three consecutive aces, that sparked the Orioles to a 20-14 lead. Treuthardt finished with 10 kills and six aces. Peterson added 11 kills for the Orioles.

"I knew I needed to get it over," Treuthardt said. "In my mind I was just thinking, 'Just get it over.' I didn't want to hit it hard into the net. I wanted to serve an aggressive serve."

The Orioles stormed out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth game on the heels of junior Abby Flanagan's serving. Argyle sophomore Kayla Ostby then followed that with four straight service points, including a pair of aces, to give the Orioles an 18-12 lead. Ostby finished with 42 assists and 21 digs.

"Danielle Treuthardt and Kayla Ostby's serving was phenomenal," Schliem said. "I can't say enough about someone who can run off a bunch of points in a row."

The Orioles also made a defensive adjustment.

"We really focused on taking away their cross court shots," Johnson said.

Treuthardt and Peterson helped the Orioles roll to a 9-2 lead in the decisive fifth game after each hammered kills. The Vikings got as close as 13-10 on an ace by senior Jennah Schliem and a service point by Gifford.

"Their execution was much better," Cher Schliem said of the Orioles. "It's been a fun and long season for all of us. You never want it to come to an end."