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Huntley outlasts DeKalb to take volleyball regional crown

ROCKFORD – DeKalb girls volleyball coach Ben Fisher said Huntley couldn't do anything wrong in Thursday's Class 4A Jefferson Regional final.

Fisher's Barbs were on the wrong end of the Red Raiders' performance, with Huntley earning a 25-17, 24-26, 25-13 win.

"One of the best matches I've seen played by them all season. I've watched a lot of film, I've seen them play a few times," Fisher said. "One of the best matches they've played all season long. They deserve all the credit in the world. No matter what we threw at them, they dug it. No matter what we served at them, they passed it."

The Red Raiders (24-13) advance to next week's Belvidere North Sectional. Huntley will take on Gurnee Warren in the sectional semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Huntley closed Game 1 on a 6-1 run, and it looked like the Red Raiders would sweep the Barbs, holding a 23-20 lead in the second game before DeKalb tied the score at 24 and got two straight kills by Courtney Wagner and Courtney Bemis for the win.

Huntley coach Karen Liss said her team just needed to regroup in the third game, and the Red Raiders did, getting off to an 8-2 lead and not looking back.

Liss said Huntley's serve-receive broke down at the end of the second game, but that it was almost flawless in Game 3. The Red Raiders were also able to attack from the middle of the court, as Liss said DeKalb was looking to guard the outside.

"Offensively, we were able to run our middle, which was our goal, to run our middle," Liss said. "Our serve-receive just didn't fall apart."

The Red Raiders (24-13) had three players with at least six kills. Emily Westermeyer led Huntley with nine kills, while Rachael Kisten and Erin Lyman added six apiece. Rachel Shores had 17 digs, and Kelsey DeWulf finished with 31 assists.

Liss felt her team was disciplined on defense, and Huntley served aggressively in order to keep DeKalb senior outside hitter Courtney Bemis in check. Bemis had eight kills, but Liss said her teams' serving helped slow down the Barbs (30-7).

"We knew that that was their big hitter," she said. "Our goal was to serve aggressive so their only goal was to go to the outside. We did a great job serving aggressive."

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