Harvest Christian’s volleyball team is right back where it was last year, even if the Lions weren’t exactly thrilled with their play Thursday night on their home court in winning their second straight Class 1A sectional.
The Lions dominated Morgan Park Academy 25-13, 25-18 to advance to the Lanark Eastland Supersectional at 7 p.m. Saturday in a rematch with Keith Country Day School with a state semifinal berth on the line. Even in winning easily, Harvest Christian came away expecting to play better.
“Sloppy,” coach Kim Floyd said of the Lions play. “Our hitting game wasn’t 100 percent. They didn’t play as well as they had, but they still played well enough.”
It didn’t get scary, but Morgan Park Academy did make a run in the second set behind junior outside hitter Katelyn Healy. Morgan Park went on an 8-2 run to turn a 21-10 match into a 23-18 one. Floyd had seen enough of sloppiness and called timeout.
Her message: “Basically, ‘stop messing around, get it done,’” Lions 6-foot-2 middle Sydney Doby said.
They did in emphatic style as senior Sarah Kott’s perfect line shot and a kill by freshman Ellie Burzlaff finished the match.
“Right there at the end they had a couple points and I think we got a little overexcited that the end was coming and supersectionals would be coming up,” said Doby, who produced 11 kills, including six points off stuff blocks. “We were over thinking things and after that timeout we mentally wrapped it up as a team.”
Senior Jordan Sollars had nine kills and Kott four for Harvest Christian (31-5), which jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first set. Katelyn Floyd, Chloe Corbett and Eric Manusos put down aces for Harvest Christian.
In the second set, a stuff block by Kott triggered a 5-0 run that put Harvest Christian in command 16-8.
“They have a great team,” Morgan Park Academy coach Tom Kaker said. “They’re solid all over.
“Their biggest thing against us was their good defense. We had some good hits and we had some kills, but they dug. They dug everything and had some big blocks, of course; they’ve got the height. It’s a good, solid team. I hope they do well the rest of the way.”
Healy had five kills and Brittany Knight three aces for Morgan Park Academy, which returns six starters next year.
Harvest beat Keith Country Day twice in conference play this season, the first time in a war 25-21, 12-25, 26-24, and the second time more convincingly Oct. 20 in the Northeast Athletic Conference tournament title match, 25-18, 25-20.
“They have a couple good outside hitters that they go to every time,” Floyd said.
Added Doby: “They definitely pull the block apart with their strong hitters. So that’s something the front row definitely needs to work on.”
Harvest Christian lost badly last year 25-15, 25-13 to Dakota in the supersectional, so taking the next step to Illinois State University and the semifinals has been their goal all year.
“I’m hoping that they’ve been there, they’ve done that, so supersectional is nothing new,” Floyd said.