Girls Volleyball: Harvest Christian favored in Class 1A

Story Image Elgin -The Lions of Harvest Christian Academy battle the Hilltoppers of Elgin Academy in class 1A regional volleyball playoffs. Sydney Doby Harvest goes for the block. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: October 29, 2012 8:31PM

Harvest Christian’s volleyball team has been to the brink of state, so the Lions are unafraid of voicing some very lofty goals.

“The ultimate goal this year is definitely state — winning state,” junior 6-foot-2 middle Sydney Doby said. “That’s been our goal since last year.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to achieve it, but this year it’s really realistic and we’re striving for it even though we’re taking each match at the time point by point. It’s really in the back of our minds. Everything we do, every conditioning (drill), every practice, every practice hit, it’s for state.”

The Lions can get back where they were last year, to the supersectional, if they handle their next two matches. And they’ll have the home court to do it. Harvest Christian hosts its own Class 1A sectional as the strong favorite to make it to Saturday’s 7 p.m. Lanark Eastland Supersectional.

Doby is one of the huge reasons the Lions rate as big favorites. Her blocking ability devastated regional opponents who thought they were getting a big hit for a kill only to have the ball back in their face.

“I kept her in the middle,” Lions coach Kim Floyd said. “So many people wanted to say pull her outside, pull her outside. But she brings such a blocking game that I wasn’t going to move her.”

Doby had 87 blocks in the regular season to go with her 233 kills. Because of her all-around ability, she had 158 digs and 79 aces, as well. But the blocking game is something most teams can’t match at the 1A level.

“It disrupts play and creates havoc and gets the crowd going,” she said.

The crowd should be going in the sectional, which starts with a 6 p.m. match Tuesday between Luther North and Morgan Park Academy. Harvest Christian’s match against Chicagoland Jewish follows about 7 p.m.

Chicagoland Jewish (12-7) did not face Harvest Christian (29-5) this season, but is stepping way up in competition level considering the Lions have been built with plenty of club players who played a largely Class 3A and 4A schedule last year in the regular season. The regional Chicagoland Jewish won was the first in any girls sport in school history.

Harvest Christian beat both of the other teams in the sectional rather handily. They handled Luther North twice, including 25-5, 25-8 at home in September. They beat Morgan Park Academy 25-21, 25-7 in September.

The home court should help Tuesday and if they make Thursday’s finals. But Floyd wants them focusing on the task and not the crowd.

“We’re working steadily on the mental aspect of the game, and not having so much emotion but keeping steady,” she said. “No matter what the score is, it’s 0-0 in our heads.”

Class 4A at Larkin

Both St. Charles teams come into Tuesday’s semifinals of the Larkin Class 4A Sectional as underdogs.

St. Charles North (24-14) plays top-seeded Glenbard West (35-2) at 6 p.m., followed by the rematch of two teams that met for the Upstate Eight River title, second-seeded Geneva (28-9) and St. Charles East (23-12).

Geneva beat the Saints 25-27, 29-27, 25-20 two weeks ago for the title, but neither team led by more than five points in any of the three sets.

St. Charles East setter Erienne Barry thinks they’re ready for the rematch.

“We’ve worked so hard in practice,” she said. “We have each other’s back. I’m so comfortable on the court. Everyone has confidence. It’s so fun to be out there.”

Nicole Woods, who has committed to play for Memphis, leads the Saints on the attack.

In the other match, St. Charles North’s Alex Seavey, Taylor Krage and freshman sister Daley Krage lead the charge against a Glenbard West team that came on strong last year and this year won a regional for the first time since 1985.

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