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Balanced attack carries Johnsburg

HARVARD – A balanced attack Monday led the Johnsburg girls volleyball team to an IHSA regional semifinal.

The fourth-seeded Skyhawks defeated fifth-seeded Harvard, 25-16, 25-7, in their Class 3A Harvard Regional quarterfinal match behind middle blockers Alicia Stokes and Michaela Kopytynsky, outside hiters Amy Majercik and Ashly Schmitt, and right side hitter Kallie DiTusa.

Stokes led Johnsburg (26-9) with seven kills, DiTusa had six, Schmitt added four and Majercik had three.

After winning the first game by nine points, the Skyhawks' offense exploded in Game 2. Johnsburg scored 12 straight points in the final set to get to match point. The set was tied once at 1-1.

“I like it because we don’t rely on the same person,” Skyhawks coach Sue Feely said. “Not that we can rely on 12 straight points from one person. It’s 12 straight points from the whole team. We use everybody.”

The Hornets fared better in the first game, getting to within three points of Johnsburg at 15-12, but the Skyhawks went on a 7-2 run right after to help close out the game.

“We are balanced pretty well,” DiTusa said. “We play our best when everyone’s on.”

Harvard struggled all night with Johnsburg’s front line, keeping the ball in bounds, and returning serves. Schmitt and Emiley Whitlock each had two aces for the Skyhawks.

Outside hitter Maty Brincks had three kills for the Hornets, with Corina Gutierrez adding two.

The Skyhawks now face top seed Richmond-Burton at 6 p.m. today. Johnsburg didn’t play the Rockets in the regular season, but both Feely and DiTusa expressed their excitement for the match.

“We all have the same mindset in getting through this,” DiTusa said. “We don’t want to be done. Our seniors definitely don’t want to be done.”

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