With the Morris Lady Redskins hosting a Class 3A volleyball regional, the ‘Skins got one last chance to play on their home floor on Tuesday night when they took on traditional volleyball state power Joliet Catholic Academy in semifinal action. The Redskins' season came to an end as JCA beat Morris in two sets 25-20, 25-13, while advancing to the regional championship.
Playing in front of a home crowd and taking on one of the best teams in the state, the Redskins came out of the gates with a lot of energy and jumped out to a 3-1 lead on an emphatic kill by Morris sophomore JoAnna Nowicki.
“We were so excited, especially after winning last night (against Coal City). It just pumped us up for tonight,” Morris senior setter Katie Chatten said. “We were ready, but they are just a really good team.”
Chatten would finish her finish her final game with the Redskins with 11 assists on the night, finishing with 1,497 for her Redskin career.
JCA would eventually take a 7-4 lead on back-to-back aces by senior captain Morgan Reardon, and the Hilltoppers would extend their advantage all the way to 13-8 before Morris mounted one last Game 1 charge.
Morris rallied and after a pair of hitting errors by Joliet Catholic, a Chatten ace tied the game at 14. Then, a block by senior middle blocker Laney Torkelson would give Morris the lead and force a Hilltopper timeout. It was one of two blocks on the night for Torkelson, as she also finished with three kills.
JCA would regain a lead that they would never relinquish out of the timeout. And even though a block and a kill by freshman Kaylin Korte on back-to-back points would cut the lead down to 22-19, JCA would go on to win the first set by a score of 25-20.
“We have to bring our A-plus game when we play against teams like this, and that’s something we learned night in and night out in the conference,” Morris head coach Jackie Litwiller said. “If you don’t bring you’re A-plus game, you’re going home with a C and that doesn’t really get the job done.”
In Game 2, Morris was able to jump out to another 3-1 lead on an ace by Kaylin Korte. The freshman would finish her night with four kills and three blocks for the Redskins.
But, once again, JCA responded. Kills by Reardon and Shemaitis put the Hilltoppers back in front, and JCA would eventually open up a 10-5 lead.
Marcela Toups’ third kill of the night would pull Morris to within 16-12, but JCA would finish the Redskins with a 9-1 rally, ending the match and the Redskins season. The victory would improve JCA’s record to 23-5 on the season, while the Redskins would fall to 21-15.
“We had another 20-plus win season, so that’s a positive,” Litwiller said after the loss. “We didn’t hit a lot of our goals this season, but I think the girls, overall, learned what they can do out there.”
For the five Morris seniors, including Chatten, it was the final time playing volleyball in a Redskins uniform. But the hope is that this senior class can leave a lasting legacy for the program.
“I just hope next year they can pull through and win regionals, and have a great season,” she said.