Lady Knights earn regional final berth-day
Photo: Riley Hannula (left) and Vanessa Gould prepare to battle Riverside Brookefield during Saturday’s Spikefest at KHS. Photo by Lynn Logan
Sweep against Plano means Halloween contest against Sycamore
SANDWICH, ILL—Tough challenges can come your way as the No. 1 seed in any type of regional.
It’s just a matter of what to do with those challenges.
Kaneland volleyball dealt with a competitive No. 4 seed Plano lineup off a win against Rochelle the previous day, and took care of the Lady Reapers on Tuesday evening by a final of 25-19, 25-23.
Sycamore lines up to be the Kaneland opponent in the Halloween night regional final in Sandwich, Ill. The Lady Spartans, who were shelved by Kaneland in the Hampshire Regional final in 2012, beat Rock Falls and improved to 15-17 after a 30-28, 25-21 match.
Kaneland, after a week that included a Senior Night win over Yorkville, improved to 14-15.
Kaneland also hosted their annual Spikefest Saturday, but complete results were not provided by press time.
Against Plano, a tight first game still had Kaneland lead for most of the duration, and an Ellie Dunn tip over the net made it 15-13. Later, a Riley Hannula kill made it 17-14. A kill by Dunn, followed by a couple of sideouts and a spike by lone senior Jenny Lubic completed a 7-2 run to make it 24-16.
Plano would have a mini-rally after a couple of blocks and a kill, but a too-strong serve ended the game with the six-point margin.
The Lady Reapers relied on more capable front-line play to take a 17-9 advantage in game two, with things looking like they were headed to a third and deciding game.
Kaneland hurried back with two kills by Dunn. After Plano increased the lead back to 19-12. A couple of errors and another Dunn kill, coupled with a Plano sideout brought Kaneland to within 20-16. With time getting tight, A block by the combination of Hannula and Anna Senese and a tap by Vanessa Gould tied the score at 22. After a sideout made it 23-22 for Plano, Kaneland rallied with a side out, and a tap and kill by Gould on successive instances to win the match.
“I think we were just really pumped up and motivated,” Lubic said. “We wanted to win in two, and we were just focused on our goal and what we wanted to get to in the future.”
KHS coach Kerri McCastland realized a challenge was overcome, with more on the horizon, with the help of the established crew.
“Ellie and Jenny are the only ones who have ever been to this dance, I’m full of kids who have never seen the likes of what this is,” McCastland said. “I think that played into it tonight. Hat’s off to Plano, I think they played to win.”
On Thursday, Kaneland closed out conference play with a three-game win over Yorkville in Maple Park by a final of 25-22, 18-25, 25-21. Noteworthy nights were had by Lubic with 29 assists, Dunn with 14 kills and Gould with six kills and eight digs.
Scores at the Saturday Spikefest at Kaneland included KHS beating Riverside-Brookfield 23-25, 27-25, 16-14 and losing to Geneva 17-25, 25-14, 15-5, among the happenings.
Thursday’s Sandwich Regional final will send the winner to the Class 3A Princeton Sectional beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 5, with either Kaneland or Sycamore facing the winner of Illinois Valley Central-Dunlap in the Monmouth-Roseville Regional in the semifinal.