STREATOR – Morris was guilty of two service errors, three hitting errors and one pre-serve violation. For the match. Otherwise, it was tough to find fault with the Redskins.
Third-seeded Morris never trailed by more than a point in either game as it defeated second-seeded Princeton 25-14, 25-21 Tuesday in a semifinal match at the Class 3A Streator Girls Volleyball Regional. The Redskins will face LaSalle-Peru, a team that defeated them twice during the regular season, in Thursday’s championship.
“As a total package, we [had] probably one of the best matches we’ve played. It was great,” Morris coach Jackie Litwiller said. “That’s what we’ve been working up to, so I hope we continue.”
Morris led the first game from a Kailyn Korte sideout kill that accounted for the first point to the finish. Abby Baker had kills on three of the first eight points of the match as Morris raced to an 8-3 lead. Its lead was never fewer than three points for the rest of the game.
“Taya [Torkelson] and I were connecting really well today,” Baker said. “We hit some swings before practice. We went over serve receive. ... My hand contact was really good, so I had a good feeling it was going to continue into the game.”
Game 2 was close throughout, with Princeton tying the score at 21-21 on a Ashley Farraher sideout kill. The Redskins took the lead for good on a Cara Cummings block for a sideout. JoAnna Nowicki served up the final three points, killing the first herself and getting an emphatic kill from Baker on the third.
“We actually came together as a team. We usually do, but tonight it showed,” Nowicki said. “We all worked together and we all picked up where everyone left off.”
Kailyn Korte had 10 kills and three blocks to lead the Redskins in both categories. She also tied with Morgan Hussey and Nowicki for the team lead in digs with six and with four other players for the team lead in aces with one, but she was hardly the only productive member of the Morris offense. Baker had nine kills and Nowicki totaled six to go with a team-leading nine service points. Torkelson had 23 assists.
“It’s awesome to see them all getting involved. That’s what we want,” Litwiller said. “I told [Baker] whatever she had for breakfast this morning, let’s do it again. ... She wasn’t hesitating, she was watching the ball, she was being aggressive – everything that we have been wanting her to do, she was doing tonight.”