Girls Volleyball: Sandburg knocks out Lincoln-Way EastSandburg's Paige Bendell makes a dig against Lincoln-Way East during their volleyball regional title game at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island Thursday, October 23, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 25, 2012 9:49PM
Sandburg’s Paige Bendell wasn’t very active before Thursday night’s Class 4A Eisenhower Regional final against Lincoln-Way East.
In fact, the right-side hitter/setter spent most of the pregame warmups watching from the Eagles bench.
East should have been so lucky during the match.
Bendell was a difference-maker in multiple ways as Sandburg scored a 25-9, 25-17 victory that sends the Eagles to the Lincoln-Way Central Sectional.
Bendell had 11 assists, eight kills and six digs, Dakota Hampton six kills and five digs, Sami Knight 11 assists and 10 digs and Megan Hutchinson five kills for Sandburg (29-8).
East (25-12) was led by Kayla Currier (8 kills), Marissa DeGroot (7 kills), Taylor Nirchi (19 assists), Sara Buchbach (13 digs) and Dana VanDyck (11 digs).
It didn’t take Bendell long to get fired up after what looked to be a prematch reverie.
“We started to warm up little early,” Bendell explained with a smile. “It was hot in here and I didn’t want to get too amped up before the game. So usually before the game I’ll sit and chill a little bit to get mentally prepared.”
Her first block was part of a 4-1 Sandburg start. Hampton had a good service run that didn’t end until the Eagles were cruising at 15-5.
It didn’t resemble at all their Oct. 9 regular-season meeting, when the Eagles had to sweat out a 23-19 first set.
“This was different. This was playoffs,” Bendell said. “We were out there playing in what could have been our last game as a team. We just knew we had to get the win. It’s a whole different vibe in the playoffs.”
Bendell had a block and a kill during an early 5-1 run in Set 2, and after East rallied from as many as six down to get to within 17-15, she served well while Hampton rammed down a pair of kills to send the Eagles out of reach.
The earlier 5-1 East run, highlighted by two Currier kills, was the Griffins’ last stand for 2012.
“She’s a good player,” Currier said of Bendell. “We anticipated her coming out all fired up, you know, as a senior. We knew we had a tough match out there.
“It would have been nice if we could have avoided some runs that they went on. But we brought it back in the second set the best we could. I still think we had a good ending to the season.”