by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”It was a productive season for Kaneland volleyball that saw KHS coach Todd Weimerâ€™s crew overcome obstacles and stack a nice number of wins.
But the 19-14 Lady Knightsâ€™s ended just the same.
Kaneland was conceivably 12 points away from eliminating second seed Hampshire during Thursdayâ€™s Kaneland Regional. but the Whip-purs rallied and surged ahead, stopping Kaneland 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 to go to Saturdayâ€™s final against top seed Sycamore. The Lady Spartans eliminated Burlington Central 25-17, 25-22.
â€œItâ€™s tough. The teamâ€™s had a productive season. For us, itâ€™s been small steps. Finally winning a conference match, doing well in a tournament, getting close to .500, over.500, hosting a regional. This is one step at a time,â€ Weimer said.
Going neck-and-neck in the first game, Kaneland found itself down 16-15 before solidifying play and taking the lead for good at 19-18. Needing two points to cinch the game win, Malory Groen and Jessica Lubic (two kills, 24 assists) combined on a block, and Hampshireâ€™s dig attempt went out of bounds to secure the three-point margin.
The second game was bumpier for Kaneland, as they fell behind 10-7 and later 17-12 before Kaneland tied it at 18. However, Hampshire closed out the second game with a 7-2 run.
Kaneland led by as much as 11-9 in game three, but Hampshire warded off any Kaneland comeback chance. With Kaneland down 18-17, the Whip-purs went on a 7-1 run to close the match.
The Lady Knights say goodbye to seniors Lubic, Melanie Thompson, Taylor Bradbury and Mackenzie Curran.