NORMAL – For the second year in a row, the Minooka Indians’ volleyball team will attempt to win the Class 4A state title next weekend at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.
On Friday night, the Indians defeated Edwardsville, 25-16, 25-15, in the Normal Supersectional. It was the third time these two teams have met this year, with each team getting a win prior to this match.
“Playing Edwardsville a third time made it much easier,” Minooka coach Carrie Prosek said. “The first time we played them we didn’t know much about them, the second time we learned a lot and it really helped us tonight.”
Minooka will face St Charles North at 7 p.m. next Friday in the semifinal match.
In the first set Minooka held an 11-8 lead, but after an Edwardsville timeout, the Indians went on an 11-4 run to make it 22-12 and seal the set.
The second set saw a much scrappier Tigers team, which was blocking well and stayed in the game early. With the scored tied 5-5, Minooka grabbed a 7-5 lead and never trailed the remainder of the set, but Edwardsville would not go away. The Tigers trailed 12-11, but the Indians came to life and went up 17-13. The Tigers fought back to 17-15 and Minooka called timeout.
“We just needed to catch our breath and get back to our game,” Prosek said.
It worked, as the Indians scored the final eight points in quick fashion to earn the final-four berth. The entire match took 40 minutes.
Senior Holly Bonde led the Indians with nine kills, added seven digs and was the big reason the match ended quickly.
“Holly [Bonde] had a great game tonight,” Prosek said. “We knew they we going to key on [Allie] Papesh and [Rocky] Perinar, so we knew it was going to have to be a big night for Holly and she came through. She started getting some big kills right away and carried it through the entire match. It’s great to have three big hitters because that gives us so many options depending on what the other team will key on.”
Bonde was happy not only with her game but for the entire team.
“This is a great accomplishment, not only for our team, but for the school, our fans and the community,” Bonde said. “Everyone has been so supportive. We knew we just had to focus on our game and play the way we are capable and it would work out.
“I was excited when the game plan was to go to me and having three big hitters helps us so much. You can key or try and block all of us. Zoey [Seput] did a fantastic job of setting us up tonight. She mixed it up well. Moving forward we have had one goal since last year and it’s still achievable.”
Papesh and Perinar were not silent as they each contributed six kills, had six digs and were all over the court defensively and serving the ball.
Sophomore Seput had 18 assists to go along with 12 digs and has come along way this season.
“No words can say how I feel right now,” Seput said. “My teammates have made this season for me. They push me every day in practice, but they also have my back and are my big sisters. This is really special.”
Prosek has seen the improvement in her sophomore setter and feels like she is another senior on the floor.
“Zoey had a great game tonight in getting the ball were we wanted it,” Prosek said. “She has continued to improve all season, stepped up her game yet again tonight and is no longer that inexperienced sophomore, she has become one of the leaders that fits in with everyone else.”
Senior libero Taylor Baranski had 19 digs, added five assists and was excited about what the Indians achieved.
“We are making Minooka history and these last two seasons have been amazing,” Baranski said. “But it’s not over yet. Some people thought that since Edwardsville just beat us we were in a little trouble, but come tournament time, this is different than the regular season. This is our time.”