UNION MILLS — It's easy for Pipar Wade to find motivation on the volleyball court.
The South Central sophomore only has to look as far as big sister Lexy, a Satellites senior.
"I look up to her," Pipar said after Monday's 25-14, 25-19, 25-23 Porter County Conference tournament win over Westville. "When she gets a good kill, I'm like, all right, I want to do that."
Imitation was a good form of flattery in the match, which saw Lexy deliver 14 kills and Pipar 10 to power S.C. into today's semifinals with Morgan Township at Washington Township.
"I try to push her as hard as possible because I know her potential," Lexy said. "Sometimes, I have to take a breath and realize it is my sister, and treat her like one of my teammates. We have fun. It's just sad with it being my last year."
Lexy plays basketball and does track, like Pipar, who is also on the S.C. dance team. Lexy got an earlier start in volleyball, joining a travel team when she was 12 while Pipar didn't play outside the local ranks until eighth grade. Tatum, the third of four sisters, will be a freshman next season.
"Lexy's going to do what she does and Pipar did a nice job," Satellites coach Jan Fitzpatrick said. "I like how we established our middles (Allee Garner and Hannah Hagy) in set one. That opens things up for our lefts. That was a big part of our runs. We were pretty fearless. Our serves were far more aggressive. We didn't miss many and when we did, it was because we were trying something. I saw good movement. When we serve tough and pass well, run that quick out of the middle, you see what we're capable of. We just have to do it all the time."
S.C. asserted control quickly in the opening game, pulled away in the second, then turned back a Westville surge in the third that saw the score tied at 22.
"We just haven't played a whole match yet and we're running out of time," Fitzpatrick said. "That's the frustrating part. We have to learn how to finish. We can't let teams off the hook. We can compete with anybody when we put our minds to it. We just have that lull in the middle of a match where we give up five, six (points) in a row, and we can't let teams make runs like that."
Garner had six kills and four solo blocks while Hagy added four kills and two solos for S.C.
"I thought Hannah was a key part in the game," Lexy Wade said. "She had an amazing match. She played her heart out."
Undersized Westville (17-11) just couldn't match South Central's attack, struggling to initiate its offense, let alone finish.
"We won our invite Saturday because of our passing and we just didn't pass the ball," Blackhawks coach Dale Lake said. "We had too many passing errors and 10 on serve reception. When you can't return serve, you can't set up your offense. They had so many free balls and they're so big, they're going to tear you apart. It felt like target practice at times. It's never a question of heart, we just don't have the firepower to match up with them."
S.C. gets another crack at Morgan tonight in the semifinals. The Satellites lost 25-15, 25-20, 25-21 on Sept. 4.
"We get so happy when someone has a good hit, but if we put one in the net, we get down on ourselves, like we let the team down," Pipar Wade said. "We're like a rollercoaster. We just have to be able to stay up all the time."