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La Salle-Peru seniors Brittany Zawacki (left) and Jessica Suarez hug after their 25-20, 25-16 loss Tuesday to Rock Falls in a Class 3A Mendota Sectional semifinal. The Lady Cavaliers finished the season 29-8. NewsTribune photo/Anthony Soufflé
MENDOTA — The La Salle-Peru volleyball players milled about on the court Tuesday night.
The Lady Cavaliers hugged, talked and took pictures with each other.
It was the last time the 2012 Lady Cavs would be on the court together.
La Salle-Peru fell 25-20, 25-16 to Rock Falls in the Class 3A Mendota Sectional semifinals to end the Lady Cavs’ season.
“I thought we played well,” L-P coach Mark Haberkorn said. “At times we played very well, but you know what, they just played a little better tonight. They were on tonight. We battled them, battled them. It seemed like there was a play here, a play there. We just didn’t seem to get the break our way. If the ball would have gone our way rather than their way, it would have been a different game, but you never know.”
The Lady Cavs battled in a tight first set that featured six ties - the last at 19-19 - before Lady Rocket freshman Bailey O’Brien put down four consecutive kills to end the set.
L-P stumbled out of the gate in the second set, falling behind 5-1 and never pulling closer than three points the rest of the set.
The Lady Cavs started to mount a late run - putting together three consecutive points to make it 20-13 - but missed a key chance on a free ball by hitting it out of bounds.
“They made that last run at the end of Game 1,” Haberkorn said. “Game 2 we were making our comeback and we had a chance to make a play at the net and we missed it. When you’re down (20-13), everything’s got to be perfect. We waited too long to make our comeback in Game 2.”
The Lady Cavs had trouble getting its offense going against a stiff Rock Falls defense as they managed just 13 kills in the match.
“They just seemed to be everywhere. They just made it very difficult for us tongiht,” Haberkorn said. “Rock Falls is noted for their defense and they played outstanding defense. We kept attacking, attacking.”
The Lady Rockets had more success with their attacks as O’Brien, Jordan Giddings and Linsey Brown each put down seven kills.
“We got a lot of touches, we just didn’t get a lot of blocks,” Haberkorn said. “It wasn’t just one thing. It wasn’t just our hitting. It wasn’t just our defense. It was just one or two plays.”
The Lady Cavs end the season with a 29-8 record. Tuesday’s loss ended the careers of L-P seniors Brianna Argubright, Katy Gealow, Brianna Huss, Mia Porter, Heather Senica, Sarah Shevlin, Jessica Suarez, Brittany Zawacki, Brianna Zeman.
“It was a great season,” Haberkorn said. “I’m very proud of this team. We battled hard. We battled against some very good teams. We won 29 matches. We won the Springfield Lutheran tournament. Overall, I’m very pleased with the season. We’re really going to miss our nine seniors. They have done so much for this program. They have been nothing but great role models for everybody.”
Rock Falls (28-10) advances to face Dunlap in the sectional final Thursday. Dunlap beat Freeport 25-21, 25-18 in Tuesday’s first semifinal.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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