DeKalb holds off upset-minded Huntley

ROCKFORD – Huntley had its chances.

The Red Raiders were one point away from a victory in each game of Thursday's IHSA Class 4A Rockford East Regional final against DeKalb.

However, the top-seeded Barbs fought back each time, earning a 26-24, 28-26 win over No. 3 seed Huntley.

"We had so many opportunities to finish it," Huntley coach Karen Liss said. "Just couldn't pull ahead in Game 2."

In each of the two games, Huntley (15-20) had a chance to win the game with a simple point while leading, 24-23. The No. 1 seed Barbs (30-8) fought back both times, getting the big point to earn the win. In Game 1, DeKalb scored the last four points to get the victory. In the second game, the Barbs were behind 19-11.

DeKalb advances to the Jacobs Sectional, where the Barbs will play Boylan at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals.

Barbs coach Ben Fisher was impressed with the match Huntley gave his team, and said watching his group of girls have to come back to get both victories was stressful.

"You're just hoping your team is going to come through and make plays when they need to make plays," Fisher said. "And we did that tonight. Hat's off to Huntley, they played a very, very good match tonight. Very, very tough test, and we had to play our hearts out in order to win tonight."

Erin Lyman led the Red Raiders with eight kills, while Hailey Vitacco had seven and Emily Westermeyer added six. Kelsey DeWulf had 24 assists for Huntley.

Liss gave DeKalb's defense credit, saying her team had a tough time getting around the Barbs' strong blocking.

"They [had a] very big block," Liss said. "Early on in Game 1, we were swinging straight into the block thinking we could swing for a kill every time. Game 2 we got a lot smarter, we started swinging wide, swinging sharp cross, mixing it up and going around the block.

"But, toward the end there when the serve-receive falls apart and our only option is outside, the block's sitting there waiting for you."

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