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Area teams go down swinging

Bureau Valley, Hall, DePue and St. Bede all saw the curtain drawn on their volleyball seasons in regional play this week.

At St. Bede: The Lady Bruins advanced to the regional semifinals Tuesday, bowing out with 25-16, 25-14 losses to top-seeded Fieldcrest. St. Bede coach Dawn Williams said it was sad to see the season end “just when my team was finally playing the way I believed they could all along.

“We had a lot of solid plays and long rallies, but Fieldcrest did a good job stretching out points at two spots in each game. We competed and battled but came up short,” Williams added. “It’s always sad that the season has to end with a loss. I’ve enjoyed returning to coaching and very much enjoyed working with this team. They improved tremendously this season, and it’s hard to see it end.”

Williams said her seniors — Maggie Kaniewski, Lauren Urbanowski, Lydia Stariha and Abbey Nowakowski – were a classy group, noting how they thanked their teammates for a good year.

Kaniewski led the Lady Bruins’ attack at the net with eight kills, once again coming out on fire, Williams said. Morgan King had 21 digs and six points; Stariha had 16 digs; and Whalen had 11 digs and four points.

The Lady Bruins defended the home court Monday, defeating neighbor Putnam County 25-19, 25-15 in opening round play. Kaniewski had 12 kills and three blocks; Lauren Urbanowski added five kills and two blocks; King had 10 digs and seven points; and Whalen had seven points with 10 digs

Fieldcrest (26-10) advances to Thursday’s finals to face Heart of Illinois Conference rival El Paso-Gridley, a 25-19, 25-10 winner over Eureka.

Hall (5-27) also saved its best for last, playing Eureka to a 24-26, 13-25 defeat in Monday’s regional opener. Hall coach Amanda Coutts was proud of how the Lady Devils went down fighting.

“If we were going to end tonight, this is how I would have liked it. The girls fought and never gave up. Thanks, Lady Devils,” Coutts said.

Clarissa Gerrard led the Lady Devils (5-27) with four kills, and Vanessa Olivares, Beka Dagraedt and Ellen Herrmann added two each. Olivares also added six points, and Gerrard had two aces.

At Orion: Bureau Valley advanced into the semifinal round with a 25-18, 25-21 win over Rockridge Monday. Brandi DeWaele had eight points and two aces; Lindsey Hoffert had seven kills and four points; Danae Ross had six points and eight digs; and Heaven Bennett and Ali Fairbanks added three kills each.

On Tuesday, the Storm was knocked out by the host Lady Chargers 25-19, 25-20. Hoffert (8 kills) and Bennett (6 kills) led the net game, with Sydney Lebahn chipping in nine points and 17 assists, and Ross adding seven digs.

BV coach Abbi Bosnich said the Chargers were able to go on some runs the Storm were not able to recover from, but the team made an impressive show of their own in both matches.

“We showed up Monday night with a lot of energy and determination,” Bosnich said. “We came out strong and finished strong against Rockridge. Each player did a great job of contributing to our success. Going into Tuesday night against Orion, we knew that Orion was a strong team. Our goal was to leave it all on the court and believe in ourselves all night. I believe we accomplished both of those goals.”

Sherrard beat Kewanee in three sets to earn a date opposite West Central rival Orion in Thursday’s finals.

At Wethersfield: The host Lady Geese knocked out Annawan 27-25, 25-15 in Tuesday’s semifinals.

At Roanoke: DePue bowed out with a 25-19, 25-14 loss to Tri-County Conference rival Lowpoint-Washburn.

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