It took awhile for Oregon to get going Tuesday night, but once they did, it was an easy advancement to the 2A regional volleyball finals.
Rockford Christian (12-23-1) jumped out to a 6-1 lead off of four Lady Hawk (27-9-1) hitting errors and two serving errors, forcing coach Faith Watson to call an early timeout.
“I told them we can’t make mistakes and win,” Watson said. “They know it. They just want to hit the ball too hard.”
“I don’t think they were expecting much from us,” RC coach Tom Lynde said. “We started well with good passing.”
Oregon slowly got back in the contest at the Blackhawk Center and won in straight sets, 25-13 and 25-8. Still, there was some concern after trailing 6-1 and 9-4 in the first game.
“I wouldn’t call it a fluke. It happens all too often to us,” Watson said. “We need to learn that teams aren’t going to roll over for us.”
Emy Wright, who had most of the early hitting errors, got her team back on track with kills to close the gap to within 6-2. A hitting error on RC made it 6-3 and Oregon began to claw its way back.
A Sommer Rhea kill tied the game at 11-11 and the Lady Hawk onslaught continued. Shannon Cullen had a kill, Rhea had an ace and Wright another kill to make it 20-12.
“That good passing we had fell down and they started pounding the ball down our throat,” Lynde said.
In the second game, Hailey Long had a three kills and Jordan Wilken an ace to help stake the Lady
Hawks to a 15-4 lead. Like the first game, it was a case of everyone having a hand in it.
“It was a great team win,” Watson said. “I pride our team on having 14 excellent players. I’m not worried about filling in at any positions.”
An example was towards the end of match when back-up Kelsey Pudlas had three kills in the final five points scored. Rhea, Wright, Cydney Long and Hailey Long also had three kills, with Cullen chipping in four.
Rhea also had 10 digs and as usual, as was the floor general Delaney Mahoney coming through with 18 assists.
“Delaney never ceases to amaze me how she runs the court,” Watson said. “We moved Cyd to center and she’s provided great senior leadership, the same with our liberto, Jordan.”
RC went on a mini spurt midway through the last game by scoring three straight points to get with 16-8.
That was all the offense they could muster, though, as Oregon reeled off nine straight points to win.
“They don’t have the big 6-footers like other teams we’ve played,” Lynde said. “I thought we’d match up better. They surprised me.”
In the second game of the night, Rockford Lutheran beat Byron 25-21, 25-15.
Oregon and Lutheran will face off for the regrional title on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m.