The bond between the Lincolnwood and Hillsboro volleyball teams has become strong over the last few season, in large part to their support of eight-year-old Grace Herschelman.
On Monday, Oct. 7, the two teams joined together for a Volley for Grace night, with funds raised through a bake sale and awareness raised for Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, or INAD, the rare genetic disorder that Herschelman suffers from. Coupled with the Nokomis and Litchfield volleyball teams, the county schools have raised thousands of dollars for INAD research through their work during Volley for Grace games and the Montgomery County Invitational - A Grace Filled Tourney.
The common philanthropic work by the Lancers and Toppers did nothing to take away from the intensity of the rivalry on the court though as the two county foes battled tooth and nail for the win on Hillsboro's home court. In the end, just five points would separate the two clubs, with Lincolnwood escaping with a 25-22, 26-24 victory, their 20th of the season.
The Lancers would pull away early in game one, leading 7-3 at one point before Hillsboro charged back to tie the game at 8-8. The two teams would trade points through much of the rest of the game, with neither team leading by more than one or two points the rest of the way out.
With Sidney Glick serving, Lincolnwood would get a kill from Katelyn Payne to make it 24-21, but a ball out of bounds gave Hillsboro another chance. Payne would come up big again though, drilling a hit off the Hillsboro block for the game winner.
The back-and-forth pace followed the two teams in the switching of sides as Hillsboro kept Lincolnwood close. The Toppers would lead 5-4 early on, but Lincolnwood made a charge with Cassie Krager serving as they built up a 12-8 lead.
Hillsboro would come back though, with Kayli Ward serving up an ace and Kaci Papin putting down a kill and a block to help the rally. Haley Major also scored a kill, giving Hillsboro their first lead since their fifth point of the match.
The Toppers would continue to add to their lead late in the game, building the margin up to as many as four points at 20-16 and 22-18, before Lincolnwood would make their move. The Lancers would chip away at the lead with kills by Cassie Krager and Maggie McClelland.
The persistence of the visitors would pay off as they tied the game at 23, but both teams would swap points to keep the game tied at 24-24. With Glick serving, Lincolnwood would pull ahead on a kill by McClelland, then put the Toppers away on a kill by Payne, ending Hillsboro's eight game winning streak.
Payne would lead the team in kills with nine, while Cassie Krager had eight and Madison Krager and McClelland had six each. Avery Pope had 16 assists in the win, with Cassie Krager adding nine assists.
McClelland would lead the team in points with six, while Cassie Krager and Lexie Millburg chipped in five and four respectively.
Defensively, Millburg, Pope and Cassie Krager all had nine digs apiece, with Krager also picking up the lone Lincolnwood block.
Hillsboro would get six kills each from Kayli Ward and Kaci Papin, while Jordan Jacobs and Reagan DeVashier would have six assists apiece. The six trend continued with the serving game, with Ward and Chloe Beck each accounting for six points.
Defensively, Emily Reynolds led the team in digs with seven, while Maria Hernadez added four. Emma Miller and Ward both had a block apiece in the narrow loss.
The Lancers will be back at home on Thursday, Oct. 10, as they host the Calvary Saints, followed by a home game against Staunton on Oct. 14. Hillsboro will also be at home on Thursday, Oct. 10, as they host the Gillespie Miners in an SCC clash.
October 7 at Hillsboro
Lincolnwood 25 26
Hillsboro 22 24
Service Points: Maggie McClelland 6, Cassie Krager 5, Lexie Millburg 4, Avery Pope 2, Kyra Shull 1. Aces: Lexie Millburg 1, Cassie Krager 1, Maggie McClelland 1, Kyra Shull 1. Kills: Katelyn Payne 9, Cassie Krager 8, Maggie McClelland 6, Madison Krager 6, Sidney Glick 1, Avery Pope 1. Assists: Avery Pope 16, Cassie Krager 9, Sidney Glick 3. Blocks: Cassie Krager 1. Digs: Lexie Millburg 9, Cassie Krager 9, Avery Pope 9, Maggie McClelland 5, Sidney Glick 4, Madison Krager 4, Katelyn Payne 2.
Service Points: Kayli Ward 6, Chloe Beck 6, Ally Devore 4, Reagan DeVashier 3, Emily Reynolds 3. Aces: Emily Reynolds 1. Kills: Kaci Papin 6, Kayli Ward 6, Haley Major 2, Emily Reynolds 2, Chloe Beck 1. Assists: Jordan Jacobs 6, Reagan DeVashier 6, Chloe Beck 3, Emily Reynolds 2. Digs: Emily Reynolds 7, Maria Hernandez 4, Ally Devore 3, Jordan Jacobs 3, Reagan DeVashier 3, Kayli Ward 2, Chloe Beck 2, Haley Major 2. Blocks: Emma Miller 1, Kayli Ward 1.
Records: Lincolnwood (20-6); Hillsboro (13-8).