JOLIET — Right from the onset of Monday’s IHSA volleyball regional at Joliet West High School, fans could tell Minooka was on. Natalie Yard opened with an ace against Danville and five points later it was a six-point lead.
Before the Vikings knew what had hit them, they had lost the first game 25-6 and the Indians didn’t let up in the second game, taking that by a 25-9 count.
“We knew we had to bring energy to this regional,” Minooka senior Raven Burns said. “That’s been one of our downfalls, which is why we wanted to bring it.”
It was clear that Minooka was on a mission in getting past Danville. Minooka coach Chris Hoelscher said that she liked what she saw from her team.
“We talked yesterday. We had a rough weekend at the Lyons Invitational. I took out the white board at practice and told them it was a new season and then wiped it clean. It’s what they have to do.”
One of the things Hoelscher specifically liked was the way her Indians stayed focused while trying to put the match away.
“One of the things they did was to continue to play hard when they had the lead,” Hoelscher said. “We had that happen to us this weekend. We’d get the lead and let it slip away. They would get up and get relaxed, but tonight I was glad to see them play from points one through 25.”
Minooka led 9-1 in the second game and continued right on through for the win.
“We talked about it and we still have goals in mind here,” Burns said. “We want to do what we can to win the regional title.”
Burns ended with four kills and a block on the night while Skylar Day had nine kills, two blocks and five digs.
Additionally, Kasey Schumacher had six digs, five aces and three assists, Bailey Sachtleben five kills, Tessa Griparis three kills and two aces, Keli Holstine 10 assists and Kelly Clucas six assists.
“We’ve talked about the goals. At the beginning of the season, we said we wanted to win the conference and we finished second. Then we said we wanted to win our own tournament and finished third. Our last major goal this year is to get farther than last year’s team — which means to win the regional,” Hoelscher said. “This is the team’s last shot to do something that they had set out to do at the beginning of the season.The team is focused on achieving that.”
Danville ends the season with a 9-25 mark while Minooka improves to 21-11. The Indians now play Bradley Bourbonnais on Tuesday back at Joliet West. The Boilers advanced by defeating the hosting Tigers in three games 16-25, 25-19, 25-22.