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Lady Hawks advance to sectional championship this Thursday in South Beloit

Oregon vs. Elmhurst IC Catholic, 7 p.m. Nov. 7

It wasn't a thing of beauty, but Oregon advanced to the South Beloit Sectional championship.

The Hawks handily defeated Arlington Heights Christian Liberty Academy 25-14, 25-13 Tuesday night at South Beloit High School.

But, Oregon's performance wasn't it's best, probably because it was superior to CLA.

The Hawks (29-9-1) advance to meet Elmhurst IC Catholic in the sectional championship Thursday.

IC Catholic defeated Dakota 25-18, 17-25, 26-24 in the other semifinal. Dakota had defeated Oregon at the Hawks' tournament earlier this season, and knocked Oregon out of the postseason last year.

"One of the problems we've had all year is we'll get in a match where we coast, and we make errors, but we win," Hawks coach Faith Watson said. "When we do that with a good team, which will be the case Thursday, we're not going to be able to do that. Tonight didn't prove anything. But, I'm sure they will rise to the occasion. They always do."

"We played fine. We just needed to play better," said Wright, who had seven kills. "We got a little excited. We needed to adjust. We will for Thursday [the sectional championship]."

The Hawks fell behind 4-1 to start but recovered quickly, taking their first lead at 7-6 on a kill by Cydney Long, who had six kills on the night.

Oregon broke from an 8-7 edge with an 11-2 tear that made it 19-9. Shannon Cullen and Wright had kills, while Sommer Rhea had a pair of aces, and Delaney Mahoney another in the burst.
CLA closed within 20-13, but the Hawks closed the set with a 5-1 flurry that included kills by Long and Wright.

In Set 2, the lead went back and forth early before Oregon took it for good at 7-6 on the first of two straight aces by Tayla Smith.

Leading 10-9, the Hawks went on another 11-2 blitz to build a 21-11 advantage.

Long and Wright each had two kills in the run, which also included kills from Hailey Long and Rhea, who had an ace as well.

Another kill by Wright and a kill apiece from the Longs set up Smith's match-ending ace.

"We warmed up like we were ready, but when we saw them warming up we thought it was going to be an easy game," Cydney Long said. "We didn't have the intensity."


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