CROWN POINT -- When Erica Packwood is tuck jumping, it's a bad sign for the opposing volleyball team.

"I was a cheerleader for five years," the Crown Point junior said. "I played a lot of sports and volleyball stuck with me. Ever since I was little, I'd get really excited and I always did a tuck jump. That's my thing. That's what I'm known for."

With Tuesday's Duneland Athletic Conference match against La Porte tied at two games, Packwood went into full on tuck jump mode, delivering three of her 11 kills and a pair of block kills to tip the scales to the Bulldogs for the 15-11 clincher.

"We were all going crazy. We like to call it wild banshees," Packwood said. "We were talking as a team, back row to front row and front row to back row. We worked really hard this week on communicating as a team. Our defense worked really well and our sets were really good. I trust our setters to put the ball where it needs to be."

Packwood had a similar takeover performance in a win against Munster earlier in the season.

"She was revved up," CP coach Alison Duncan said. "They better know (to get it to her). If they don't know, we're doing something wrong. She's an emotional player. When she gets hot, she's very tough to slow down."

As was the case versus the Slicers, who had the hosts down after the first game and again after the third game before the Bulldogs rallied with a 25-13 fourth game to pull even a second time.

"We just didn't adjust," LP coach Cassie Holmquest said. "I saw some good things that if we could have capitalized on when we were ahead, obviously that would have been better for us. We just have a hard time getting out of our own heads when we make an error. We let teams get on too many runs, get too many points in a row, crucial points, and that killed us."

After a demoralizing five-set loss to Mother McAuley last week, Duncan emphasized positivity to her team, urging them to stay in the 'green zone' emotionally.

"Not just Erica, but all female volleyball players, when they're slipping into the yellow or red zone, they're in trouble," she said. "It's about being super positive, aggressive, playing relaxed. They have to hold each other up. They've been playing for so long, doing thousands of reps, their body is going to take over."

Crown Point defeated La Porte in four games in the Duneland Conference opener. The win puts CP two games clear of LP in the league, where the Slicers' only losses have been to the Bulldogs.

"The first time we played, both teams had a lot of errors," Duncan said. "Both teams have really improved since then. Sometimes, getting the momentum, the energy, is all it takes."

 

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