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STREATOR — The Mendota volleyball team has moved on.
It just hasn’t forgotten.
When the Spikers opened the season with a two-set loss at La Salle-Peru, it stuck with them all season.
Now, more than two months later, MHS has its rematch.
In Monday’s Class 3A Streator Regional, the No. 4-seeded Spikers beat No. 5-seeded Streator 25-15, 28-26 to set up today’s 6 p.m. showdown with No. 1-seeded La Salle-Peru, which beat MHS 25-13, 25-10.
“We definitely wanted to get back and play L-P and try to beat them,” MHS junior hitter Abby Bromenschenkel said. “We’ve wanted to do that all season since our first game. We wanted to come back and win against them.”
A victory tonight over the Lady Cavaliers (29-3) would send the Spikers (20-11-2) into Thursday’s 6 p.m. regional final.
“I think we want to prove to L-P that we’ve gotten better and that we’re ready to play them,” MHS junior setter Brooke Carroll said. “I think everybody’s goal in the area is to beat L-P. They have a lot more to lose than us, and we’re ready to take them down.”
On Monday, the Spikers had a tale of two sets.
Mendota rolled in the first set as it built leads of 5-1, 9-2 and 20-9 en route to claiming the opening set.
However, in the second set, Streator (6-20-1) made the Spikers work a lot harder. The Lady Bulldogs pushed the pace through the first part of the game as they led until MHS tied the match at 11-11 and then 12-12.
The Spikers then took control as Streator chased before it tied the match at 15-15, but back-to-back kills from senior hitter Kaitlyn Horn and junior middle hitter Amy Devitt gave MHS a 17-15 cushion.
However, that’s when the Lady Bulldogs took off as a 7-0 Streator run turned a two-point MHS lead into a 22-17 MHS deficit.
“The second game we didn’t get our blocking,” MHS coach John Holzman said. “They hit a lot of balls through our blocks and off our blocks, and that’s what we’ve stressed all season is we’ve got to get the block up. We have tall girls and we can’t let the ball get between our girls or in between (our player) and the net.”
A kill by the Spikers ended the seven-point rally, but a kill by Streator’s Morgan Sharisky gave the Lady Bulldogs a 23-18 lead.
A Streator service error, a Streator net violation and an Ally Bromenschenkel kill rallied Mendota to 23-21, but a kill from Streator’s Kaylynne Terry put the Lady Bulldogs at set point at 24-21.
However, the Spikers wouldn’t back down.
A kill by Abby Bromenschenkel pulled MHS to 24-22, and a kill from Halie Donahue made it 24-23. An ace by Carroll tied the match at 24-24.
Streator finally countered as Julia Harcharik gave the Lady Bulldogs a 25-24 lead, but an Ally Bromenschenkel kill tied the match at 25-25.
A wide kill attempt by Carroll gave Streator another set point at 26-25, but a four-hit violation by the Lady Bulldogs tied the match at 26-26.
This time, MHS was able to break through as a Streator return attack went into the net, and a wide kill attempt by Sharisky ended the match.
Abby Bromenschenkel led MHS with eight kills, Carroll had 20 assists, 10 points and four aces and Horn added 13 digs and six kills.
“It’s really exciting, and I think it makes our team play better,” Abby Bromenschenkel said of the rally. “Sometimes we play down to other team’s levels and we have to pick it up when the time comes, and we do.”
MHS hopes to pick it up even more when it plays L-P tonight. Since the teams last played, MHS has switched to a 5-1 offense and has a new libero but is missing its top hitter in senior JoEllyn Parks, who suffered a season-ending knee injury a few weeks ago.
“We’ve really grown as a team and have come together,” Abby Bromenschenkel said. “We now know our strengths and weaknesses, and I think we will definitely show our strengths (Tuesday).”
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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