Third game not a charm

By on November 7, 2013
Anna Sinise

Photo: Sophomore Anna Sinise had four digs and two kills in the Lady Knight’s Regional loss to Sycamore last Thursday. Photos by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights’ journey ends by third-seed Sycamore in regional final
SANDWICH, Ill.—There would be no standing tall, despite the valiant effort.

Kaneland, the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A Sandwich Regional, looked to knock off Sycamore, the No. 3 seed, last Thursday, in a repeat of the 2012 Hampshire Regional final.

What ended up happening after a nice first game was two drops in a row, allowing the Lady Spartans to hoist the Sandwich Regional plaque after a 17-25, 25-12, 25-18 tussle. Sycamore was set to hit the Princeton Sectional against Dunlap on Tuesday in a semifinal matchup.

Kaneland finished the 2013 campaign at 16-16, while Sycamore improved to 16-17 after the three-game tussle.

Lone senior Jenny Lubic had 25 assists in her swan song, while junior teammate Ellie Dunn had 13 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore Vanessa Gould had seven kills and eight digs.

Kaneland had earned a slot in the final by beating Plano on Oct. 29, while Sycamore had defeated Sandwich in the following game.

The Lady Knights got off to a nice start against their Northern Illinois Big XII conference rival with a 14-9 edge in the first game. Sycamore took advantage of some service errors to close within 17-16. Soon, Dunn took control with two kills, and coupled with a sideout, the Lady Knights led 23-16. After a Sycamore point, the Lady Knights got a Dunn kill followed by a Lubic set to Dunn for the match point and eight-point margin of victory.

Service mishaps, errors and an overall tightening of the Sycamore game had Kaneland fall to a 20-8 margin in the second game. Despite a key kill by Hannah Nauert to close it to 21-10, Sycamore went on a 4-2 run to even matters.

Back and forth action had Kaneland’s last lead of the 2013 season at 12-11 before strategic placement of the ball and key blocking made for third-game woes. Sycamore went on an 11-4 run to take a 22-16 lead. Dunn would come up with two late kills, to close within 24-18, but a side out ended the contest.

With the first year a season-long adjustment, the Lady Knights hoped to make it past the regional final. Strides were made, however.

“New coach, new systems, young team, individual player, the bond, trust and friendships that were made, we did a lot in roughly 70 days,” KHS coach Kerri McCastland said. “I’m just sorry we didn’t have more time to foster it. The future looks bright.”

With the loss, Lady Knights volleyball says goodbye to Lubic.

“Jenny was the unanimous chosen leader on our team by her peers,” McCastland said. “She was great under pressure and stayed poised as a player and person. She is selfless; playing injured and never giving less than 110 percent. She’s a dynamic player who loves to attack the game. I will miss that among so many other things about her.”