Girls Volleyball: Bloom beats Crete-Monee in regional opener

Updated: October 22, 2012 8:55PM

Sophomore call-up Skye McNutt paid some early dividends.

Justice Howard’s hard work all season on her serving did, too.

How far it’ll get Bloom in the postseason is yet to be determined, but the Blazing Trojans can say they were playoff powers for at least one night after a 25-23, 25-10 victory over Crete-Monee on Monday in a Class 4A Lincoln-Way North Regional opener.

McNutt had seven kills in her varsity debut, while Howard had five aces among her nine service points. Howard also had eight kills and five digs, Celeste Garcia seven digs and Jenna Amazzalorso 15 assists as Bloom improved to 17-17-1.

The Blazing Trojans will play No. 1 Marist at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the first of two regional semifinals. Those matches will be played at Lincoln-Way East, while the final on Thursday will be held at Lincoln-Way North.

The victory was Bloom’s third in four tries against Crete-Monee (8-26) this season.

For awhile, it was a real battle.

The Warriors, trailing 22-17 in Game 1, roared back into contention with a 6-1 run, the highlights a pair of aces by Tyler Taylor. Jedda Stewart responded for Bloom with a kill to make it 24-23 and Stewart and McNutt combined at the net for the set-clinching block.

Game 2 was still relatively close at 12-7 Bloom when Sierra Wilson put down a kill and sent Howard to the service line. Howard fired a rocket through the hands of a Crete defender for a kill, ripped a line drive that hit the tape and rolled over for another and landed a third kill to an open spot in the Warriors defense.

“We played really good as a team,” Amazzalorso said. “We really had a lot of communication, so that was good. We had two newbies (McNutt and Ulyssa Hernandez) come up from the sophomore team and they came in and showed up big.”

Next stop, Marist.

“Yeah,” Howard said with a smile. “We just have to go out there, have fun and play our game and just do what we know.”

No. 6 Lincoln-Way North 25-25, Washington 8-7: Lincoln-Way North (25-11) cruised behind Ashley Pickert (7 aces, 5 kills), Casey Zimmerman (7 kills), Shannon Murphy (18 assists) and Michelle Scott (7 digs). The Phoenix will play No. 5 Lincoln-Way Central in Tuesday’s second semifinal.

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