Girls volleyball: Illiana Christian outlasts Oak Forest
Preparing for Tuesday’s sectional semifinal against Oak Forest, Illiana Christian had plenty of reasons to get motivated for the match.
Three of them to be exact, as the Bengals had ended Illiana’s season the previous three years.
The Vikings made sure it wasn’t four in a row, defeating Oak Forest 25-22, 30-28 at the Class 3A Marian Catholic Sectional.
“This team, we were just mentally tough the entire time,” Illiana’s Caroline Toren said. “I felt like we just worked so much harder (than previous teams).”
Toren (22 assists, 6 kills), Jaclene Bonnema (7 kills, 4 blocks) and Felicia Schaap (5 kills) led Illiana (25-12), which will play Marian Catholic at 7 p.m. Thursday for the sectional title.
Autumn Seiler (10 digs, 8 blocks), Gina Ryan (12 digs, 6 kills) and Kaitlynn Zickus (17 assists) led Oak Forest (22-16).
Trailing in both games by wide margins, Illiana refused to quit. Down 21-16 in Game 1, two Kaylin Kramer kills highlighted a 9-1 game-closing run.
With Oak Forest leading 13-4 in Game 2, a third game appeared inevitable, but no one told the Vikings. Chipping away, Illiana tied the game at 17, then survived four game points. A Kylie Vanroekel kill tied the score at 28, and after an Oak Forest hit out of bounds, Vanroekel’s block at the net closed the book.
“We let them hang around,” Oak Forest coach Amanda Brown said. “It was a great match. That’s what you hope you get this time of the year at sectionals, a great, competitive match.”