EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville girls volleyball team played exceptionally well, getting good play from throughout their lineup in going on to a 25-19, 25-20 Senior Night win over Belleville West in a Southwestern Conference match Thursday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
Although Sydney Davis has been suffering from shoulder problems lately, she came through with a huge match, which helped the Tigers greatly in the match.
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"She's been battling with some shoulder soreness," Ohlau said, "and we've been resting her. But we let her loose in games and I think that she takes advantage of every swing she gets. She's always been that leader offensively for us, as well as from the back row. It's a shame this is her last year with us."
It was very important for the seniors to go out in style as they did, not only with the match win but winning the Southwestern Conference outright and also going undefeated at 12-0.
"I think it's huge, just because it sends some momentum going into the postseason," Ohlau said. "We end the regular season undefeated in conference, but now, we look to getting ready for that postseason play."
The Tigers won the number one seed for their half of the Pekin sectional complex, which is both good and bad for a variety of reasons.
"Yes, but I think it's always about how you play," Ohlau said. "We've seen it so many times where the number one seed has gone down in the first round. Yes, we are the number one seed, but really, it's still about showing up and playing good volleyball."
Which is exactly what the Tigers did in going on to the straight-set win.
"The team worked together, I think," Ohlau said. "They had that mentality of no easy point. We're not going to let the other team in. Belleville West is extremely scrappy. They keep the ball alive and create opportunities for their hitters. So, it was imperative for our team to try to do the same."
The Maroons jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the opening set, behind the service of Madison Smith, and after an exchange of points that made the score 6-4, West was able to get back-to-back points from Corrine Leech to give West a 9-4 lead. After another exchange that brought a 10-7 lead for the Maroons, Knobeloch served up three in a row to tie the score 10-10. Another pair of exchanges brought the score to 17-17 when the Tigers began to take over. A Davis kill gave Edwardsville the lead and solid service and play allowed the Tigers to score eight of the last 10 points, with a net violation by the Maroons allowing Edwardsville to take a 25-19 win and a one-set lead in the match.
The Tigers used that momentum to take a 3-0 lead in the second set, which extended out to 5-2 on a combined block from Addie Reader and Shelby Lee, Another exchange made the score 8-4 and later on 11-7 when Edwardsville went on a run of 9-4 to take a 20-13 lead, Another run made the score 24-20 before a Maroon kill attempt went long, along the Tigers to win the second set 25-10 and the match in straight sets.
Ciara Cunningham had 11 kills for the Tigers, while Matarelli served up seven points, Knobeloch had a pair of aces, Matarelli came up with 11 digs, Knobeloch had 11 assists and Lee came up with five blocks and Reader had four blocks.
West ends its regular season at 16-18 and plays IHSA Class 4A regional host Alton at the Redbirds Nest on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. The Tigers end up 23-12 and also play at Alton as the top seed, playing against Quincy in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. The two winners play in the final at 6 p.m. next Thursday.
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