On paper, the Lincolnwood High School volleyball team was the better seed in the regional game against Pawnee on the Lancers' home floor Tuesday, Oct. 23. But based on past results, the Lancers were far from a shoe-in to move on to Thursday's regional championship.
The week before, Pawnee had defeated their rivals from down the Black Diamond in two games, 25-15, 25-16, so the fact that they were the higher seed in the subsectional (the five to the Lancers' four) was all but meaningless.
Looking to avenge the loss to the Indians, Lincolnwood came out strong in the rematch on Tuesday, but saw their season come to an end in two games.
The two rivals would go point for point throughout much of the game, with Lincolnwood going up by as many as four late in the game on an ace by Cassie Krager that made it 21-17.
Pawnee would charge back though, tying the game up at 21 and setting up a back and forth battle the rest of the way out.
Down the stretch, both teams would have chances to win, but neither capitalized until the Indians got the serve back on a hit out of bounds, tying the game at 27-27, then earned the win with a pair of aces by Avery Kern.
The tenor of game two was similar to that of game one, with neither team taking much of a lead at any point in the early going. The two teams would be tied several times before the Indians opened up a slight 14-12 lead midway through the contest
The advantage continued to shift as the game went on, with Lincolnwood taking a 16-15 lead momentarily, before ties at 18-18 and 19-19. Pawnee got its break at the service line with a pair of aces which put the Indians within arms length of the win at 23-19.
The Lancers would manage two more points, staving off elimination once by breaking Pawnee's serve, but a block attempt on a kill snuck just inside the net and fell to the ground for a 25-21 season-ending loss.
In their final game for the Lancers, seniors Briley Johnson, Kensey Armour and Kayley Armour contributed greatly to the Lincolnwood effort. Johnson led the team in assists (16), while also notching seven digs, three points and three kills.
Kensey Armour also had three kills and five digs, while tying for the team lead in points with four. Kayley Armour added two kills and a block in her final game for the orange and black.
In addition to the seniors, Lincolnwood got four points each from Cassie Krager and Sidney Glick, three blocks from Katelyn Payne and 11 digs from Krager, all of which were team highs. Payne and Maggie McClelland also led the team in kills, with five each.
The win moved Pawnee to 15-17 on the season and earned them a shot at the regional title against Mt. Pulaski, who dispatched Edinburg in straight sets on Tuesday, 25-9, 25-7. The championship game will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25.
The Lancers finish the season with a record of 23-13, despite having to fill several new starting rolls from last year's 31-8 regional championship team. They will miss the three seniors, but will return a roster full of talented players hoping to bring Lincolnwood's 15th regional title back to the Woodshed.
October 23 at Raymond
Lincolnwood 27 21
Pawnee 29 25
Service Points: Cassie Krager 4, Sidney Glick 4, Kensey Armour 4, Maggie McClelland 3, Briley Johnson 3, Lexie Millburg 2. Aces: Maggie McClelland 2, Cassie Krager 1, Sidney Glick 1. Kills: Katelyn Payne 5, Maggie McClelland 5, Maddie Krager 4, Briley Johnson 3, Kensey Armour 3, Cassie Krager 2, Kayley Armour 2. Assists: Briley Johnson 16, Katelyn Payne 1. Blocks: Katelyn Payne 3, Kayley Armour 1. Digs: Cassie Krager 11, Briley Johnson 7, Maggie McClelland 7, Kensey Armour 5, Lexie Millburg 5, Maddie Krager 4, Katelyn Payne 2, Sidney Glick 2.
Service Points: Jessica Roberts 11, Lexi Blanton 7, Melanie Rhoades 4. Aces: Melanie Rhoades 3, Jessica Roberts 3, Lexi Blanton 1. Kills: Sydney Condon 7, Makenna Byers 6, Avery Kern 4, Haleigh Meier 2, Lexi Blanton 1, Abby Landrey 1, Melanie Rhoades 1. Assists: Lexi Blanton 8, Jessica Roberts 8. Blocks: Avery Kern 6, Abby Landrey 4, Paige Langheim 2, Haleigh Meier 2, Makenna Byers 1. Digs: Sydney Condon 4, Makenna Byers 4, Melanie Rhoades 3, Hailey Rappe 2, Haleigh Meier 2, Avery Kern 1.
Records: Lincolnwood (23-13), Pawnee (15-17).
Class 1A Lincolnwood Regional
Monday, October 22
Match 1: (7) Edinburg def. (8) Morrisonville 25-16, 25-16
Match 2: (5) Pawnee def. (9) Nokomis 25-21, 25-12
Tuesday, October 23
Match 3: (1) Mt. Pulaski def. (7) Edinburg 25-9, 25-7
Match 4: (5) Pawnee def. (4) Lincolnwood 29-27, 25-21
Thursday, October 25
Match 5 at 6 p.m.: (1) Mt. Pulaski vs. (5) Pawnee