Girls Volleyball: Homewood-Flossmoor stops Joliet CentralSkylar Hildebrand, of Homewood-Flossmoor, digs out a shot against Joliet Central at Homewood-Flossmoor, Thursday, October 18th, 2012 in Chicago Heights, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 18, 2012 9:43PM
Homewood-Flossmoor libero Skylar Hildebrand was well familiar with Joliet Central outside hitter TT Austin before they met in Thursday night’s SouthWest Suburban Blue finale.
“She plays for my club and I know she’s a really good player,” Hildebrand said after host H-F prevailed 20-25, 25-16, 25-17. “I was hoping that our block would at least touch the ball so I had some chance of digging it up.”
It didn’t happen often. Austin was a terror, with many of her 14 kills straight-down shots on quick sets by Emily Malone.
“Those are so amazing,” Hildebrand said, laughing. “There is nothing you can do about those.”
H-F had better success stopping the other Steelmen, however, and rode the powerful right arm of Kaitlyn Shereyk to a come-from-behind victory.
Shereyk finished with 14 kills and 11 digs, Evelyn Weidman 10 kills, Lexi Jung nine kills, Hildebrand 12 digs and Kassie Wallace 32 assists for H-F (24-11, 3-4).
Austin added 10 digs and three blocks, while Joliet Central (19-15, 0-7) also was paced by Kelsey Frain (7 kills), Brittney Lange (6 kills) and Malone (33 assists, 9 digs).
Central, trying to avoid going winless in league play, had plenty of energy at the start. Austin’s first quick-set bomb made it 7-2. H-F got as close as 14-12 after an ace by Weidman, but Austin went on a hitting flurry for the Steelmen with three kills and a block during a 5-0 run.
But the momentum didn’t last.
“We’re developing some blockers, we just need to push a little harder,” Central coach Suzzie Bambule said. “When they started coming back our demeanor started to settle a little bit. And we get hesitant when we go down a little bit.”
The Vikings threw their first real punch in Set 2 when, leading 4-3, they went on a 7-1 run highlighted by four kills by Jung.
Shereyk was a dominator in Set 3, her most important contributions a pair of kills during a run that turned a 10-7 lead into a 16-7 mountain. Then, after Central climbed back to within 21-17, she struck the two final blows during a 4-0 finish.
“I think we were nervous, with our big amount of fans (for Senior Night),” Shereyk said. “After we lost that first game, which we shouldn’t have, we just found it in ourselves to pick ourselves up and get the first couple of points. We just kept building from there.”