WOODSTOCK – There is an old sports adage that says if you beat a team twice in the regular season, which Woodstock’s girls volleyball team did against rival Woodstock North, the third meeting in the playoffs will be the toughest.
There was no such issue Monday for the fifth-seeded Blue Streaks, who defeated the fourth-seeded Thunder, 25-21, 25-20, in the first match of the IHSA Class 3A Woodstock Regional.
“We were aware of that mindset, but it’s zero-to-zero and it’s the postseason so you can’t think about what’s happened so far in the season,” Woodstock coach Michelle Stilling said. “I just told them to attack the ball on defense and attack the ball on offense.”
Woodstock turned to junior Megan Pautrat, who unleashed a barrage of strong hits en route to 11 kills, her season high, to lead the Blue Streaks.
“I thought it was really important that we all tried our hardest tonight,” Pautrat said. “It’s our seniors, and I love our seniors. And we didn’t want to finish off this season with a loss to North.”
Those seniors include Megan’s sister Danielle, who recorded four digs, and Hailey Keefe, who had five kills.
The Thunder had leads early in both games, but Woodstock responded with strong runs, keyed by its defense.
“That’s probably our best defensive match,” Stilling said. “I don’t think there was a ball that we didn’t make an effort after. They had all of their options available at any given time.”
In the second game, a fierce 10-plus hit rally with Woodstock leading 21-19 ended in a Woodstock point and seemed to deflate the Thunder.
Josie Lindsey-Robbins had eight digs for Woodstock North. She and Sam Abbate also added three kills each.
“They fought hard all year long, and it’s tough because they don’t have the experience of other clubs,” Thunder coach Greg Burns said. “It’s a tough way to go out, but they didn’t give up on the court. We just made more errors than they did.”
Woodstock will take on top-seeded Belvidere at 6.p.m Tuesday in hopes of moving on to a regional title match on their home court.