Girls volleyball: Kaneland, St. Francis reach sectional title game

  • St. Francis' Liv Basel and the Spartans celebrate a win over Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday.

    St. Francis' Liv Basel and the Spartans celebrate a win over Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis' Brooke Everett, center, and the Spartans celebrate a win over Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday.

    St. Francis' Brooke Everett, center, and the Spartans celebrate a win over Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis' Anna Paquette sends the ball over the net against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday.

    St. Francis' Anna Paquette sends the ball over the net against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis' Emma Delaney tips the ball against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday.

    St. Francis' Emma Delaney tips the ball against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

  • St. Francis' Brooke Everett plays the ball against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday.

    St. Francis' Brooke Everett plays the ball against Woodstock North in Class 3A volleyball sectional action at Burlington Central on Monday. Patrick Kunzer/for Shaw Local

 
 
Updated 10/31/2022 10:21 PM

Kaneland coach Cyndi Violett wasn't happy with the way her team ended Monday's first set against Prairie Ridge.

She was much happier with the way it responded.

 

"I wasn't very happy, but they're fighters and they don't like to give up," Violett said. "They like to win, so they're going to keep fighting as hard as they can."

After almost giving up a late, six-point lead to the Wolves, senior Ella Gatz provided the first-set winner as the top-seeded Knights held on to defeat No. 5 Prairie Ridge 26-24, 25-18 and advance to the sectional final at 6 p.m. Wednesday against St. Francis.

Second-seeded St. Francis beat No. 1 Woodstock North 25-21, 18-25, 25-14 in the first semifinal.

"This is what our team has been pushing for the entire season," Knights junior outside hitter Rosie Karl said. "We want to go to state and we're just going to push until we get there. We had really high energy tonight ... and we were able to stay aggressive."

Prairie Ridge (16-22) never led the first set but showed it wasn't going down without a fight.

Trailing 24-18, the Wolves went on a 6-0 run on six straight service points by senior Katya Flaugher, who had two aces during the run.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Wolves weren't able to replicate that comeback performance in the second set, however, after falling behind 19-17. Kaneland (29-6) scored six of the final seven points to wrap up the victory and earn a spot in the sectional final.

Flaugher led the Wolves with nine kills, Brielle Schulze had eight digs and Ashley Stiefer added five kills. Julia Reina had nine assists, Grace Jansen had seven assists and Mackenzie Schmidt had two blocks.

Senior captain Maya Breseman (five digs) said the Wolves have come a long way. Despite finishing six games under .500, Prairie Ridge won its first regional title since 2018.

"We've been through some tough situations this year, but I'm really proud of the hard work we put," Breseman said. "We wanted it. It just didn't happen tonight."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In Monday's first semifinal, Woodstock North (30-8) played close with a much bigger St. Francis team but ran out of gas in the eventual three-set loss.

The Spartans (26-12) were led by Addy Horner with 17 kills, 19 assists, eight digs and two aces. KK Dumpit had 21 assists and 10 digs, Brooke Everett had eight kills and five digs, and Anna Paquette had four kills and 17 digs.

St. Francis coach List Ston was happy to see her team finish the win in dominant fashion.

"We just stayed confident, stayed together as a group and didn't let [North] go on any big runs," Ston said. "I'm just so happy for the girls. It's a big deal to get to play in a sectional final where we're the underdog. It's pretty exciting."

The Thunder ended the season with their third straight Kishwaukee River Conference title and third regional championship in school history. Their 30 wins also were the most in school history.

"I told the kids, 'Listen, I want to cry and I want to be upset, but I've never been more proud of a team than I was tonight," Thunder coach Eric Schulze said. "They went toe to toe with a team they didn't match up with. They played with no fear and played as hard as they could."

Senior setter Kylie Shulze had 24 assists, 17 digs and four kills for North, and senior outside hitter Katie Wickersheim added 15 kills and 16 digs. Lexi Hansen had nine kills and seven digs, Devynn Schulze had 20 digs and two aces and Emma Berner had four aces. Clara Klasek added two blocks.

Kylie Schulze, who will play next year at Loyola, said she was proud to leave behind a strong legacy at North.

"It didn't matter what our size was or what positions we were playing," Schulze said. "We were able to play through anything."

Go to comments: 0 posted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.