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La Salle-Peru senior middle hitter Rachel Hunt blocks a kill attempt by Geneseo’s Kylie Gerhardt during Thursday’s Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division match. The Lady Cavs won 25-13, 25-13. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
With the first match of the Class 3A Streator Regional just 12 days away, La Salle-Peru volleyball coach Mark Haberkorn is looking to get the Lady Cavaliers playing their best.
“You just try to make sure you fine tune everything, try to get the team peaking at the right time,” Haberkorn said about getting ready for the postseason. “You just want to keep moving forward. That’s something we’ve talked about, is this is the time of year where we just have to start clicking.”
The Lady Cavs were clicking Thursday as they rolled to a 25-13, 25-13 victory over Geneseo in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division match at L-P. The victory clinched at least a share of the conference title for L-P.
“I thought we played really well,” L-P senior Rachel Hunt said. “I thought we worked together very well. We came out strong. We knew it was going to be a good game, so we were ready to play.”
In the first set, the Lady Cavs took the lead for good at 4-3 and steadily increased their lead behind three-point runs from Hunt, Jenessa Huebbe, Abby Turczyn and Kaite Olson.
L-P stumbled early in the second set, but quickly turned it around when a four-point service run by Josie Kampwerth turned a one-point deficit into an 8-5 lead. Like the first set, the Lady Cavs steadily increased their lead until they closed out the match.
“The key this time of year is to play steady and consistent,” Haberkorn said. “I think we’re doing both very well.
“I thought we played great team volleyball. We were balanced in serves, spikes and blocks. Overall, I was very happy with the team play tonight.”
Blocking played a key role in the victory as L-P blocked nine Geneseo kill attempts with Hunt leading the way with four. Cierra Johnson and Ellie Senica had two each, while Taylor Gibson added one.
“Blocking is something that’s improved greatly over the last three weeks,” Haberkorn said. “We were able to finish our blocks. We set good blocks and finished them with good timing and technique.”
The Lady Cavs also were strong at the net offensively. Gibson led the team with five kills, Hunt and Senica had four each and Johnson added three.
Olson had 14 assists and 11 points, Turczyn finished with eight points and seven digs, and Gibson added nine digs and seven points.
The Lady Cavs (23-1, 7-0 NIB 12 West) play in the Minooka tournament today and Saturday before closing the regular season with three conference matches — Monday at Dixon, Tuesday at Ottawa and Thursday at home against Streator.
“Right now we’re on a tough stretch where we’ll only have one day to practice,” Haberkorn said. “We’ll see how things develop.”
Notes: The L-P sophomore squad won 25-12, 25-11 to improve to 27-0 overall and 7-0 in the conference. … At the freshman level, the Red team won 25-9, 25-23 to improve to 21-2-1 overall and 7-0 in the NIB 12 West, while the Green team lost 26-24, 10-25, 21-19. The Green team is 8-12 overall and 5-2 in the NIB 12 West.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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