Result brings Vernon Hills back into division raceVernon Hills' Shannon Nugent (left) tries to block the ball coming from Antioch's Abigail McIlhany during their volleyball match at Vernon Hills. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 11, 2011 9:08PM
Vernon Hills’ girls volleyball team has cleared the first of two hurdles standing between it and a berth in the North Suburban Conference Championship Game.
The Cougars toppled visiting Antioch 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 on Thursday to improve to 5-0 in the division and drop Antioch to 4-1.
On Friday, Vernon Hills faces Lakes, which has lost only to Antioch in NSC Prairie Division play.
If Vernon Hills wins, it will wear the division crown.
If Lakes wins in two games, the Eagles will win the three-team tiebreaker with Vernon Hills and Antioch and play for the NSC title.
If Lakes wins in three games, the tiebreaking procedure could go any of three ways.
Tuesday’s match looked like it belonged to Antioch early. The Sequoits won Game 1, and led 10-4 early in Game 2.
It was 23-23 when Jenn Claussen put down a kill, and Shannon Nugent’s tip gave Vernon Hills the game.
In Game 3, Vernon Hills led the entire way. It was 20-12 before Antioch made it 23-21.
A Megan Meline spike made it 24-21, and after a bad serve made it 24-22, Antioch served into the net on match point.
“We came out a little flat and a little nervous in Game 1, but we came back in Game 2 and were able to carry that over into Game 3,” said Cougars coach Abbie Gutzmer. “Antioch did a great job chipping away and making it uncomfortable for us.”
Gutzmer won’t be able to see her team try to win the division title, as she is involved in her sister’s wedding.
On the other side, Antioch Glenn Heitman was disappointed with the result.
“We had it and we gave it away,” he said. “I don’t know if we got too confident or what, but we lost our energy.
“We didn’t follow our game plan. The middle of the court was open and we didn’t follow through with it. We let them dictate the pace of the game and you can’t let a good team do that.”
Vernon Hills (18-10 overall) was led by thumpers Meline (13 kills) and Nugent 12).
Antioch is 14-8 overall and plays Wauconda on Friday.
Brianna Grant was the big bomber for the Sequoits, putting away a dozen kills.
Jessica Ploss had a half-dozen put-downs, and freshman setter Marissa Grant had 30 assists.