MAPLE PARK – Fresh off its first postseason win in the IHSA’s highest class, the No. 6 Kaneland volleyball team lost, 25-15, 25-17, to No. 1 St. Charles in a Class 4A Kaneland Regional semifinal Tuesday.
The North Stars (33-3) advance to face DeKalb in the final Thursday.
Having lost twice to the Barbs this year, coach Cyndi Violett said her team was really hoping for a rematch.
“We’d love to have beaten St. Charles North and hopefully of played DeKalb again,” Violett said. “They were hungry for DeKalb again, but that’s not how it worked out.”
Violett said she was pleased with the Knights (28-8) fought against the North Stars.
“This is our first time playing 4A, so to come in and get our first win in a regional in 4A, and then play tough with a team as good as St. Charles North,” Violett said. “We didn’t get killed and stayed with them. I believe we gave them a run for their money a little bit. I’m proud of the girls. They played well.”
Kaneland had very early leads in both games – the Knights led 4-2 in the first game on the back of a pair of aces by Sheika Mushunduzi, but gave up the next three points. The lead stayed within two until; the North Stars opened up a 15-9 lead, then 19-11.
In Game 2, Kaneland scored the first point on a Mushunduzi kill, but the North Stars scored the next three and never trailed again. It stayed close for a while, whit St. Charles North going up, 17-12, but got more lopsided late.
“We were really trying to spread the ball around, keep Kaneland on their toes, make sure they never knew where it was going,” St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins said. “I think that really helps, especially because they jumped off on us really quick with aggressive serves. We were thrown back by that a little bit but we bounced back.”
Mushunduzi led the Knights with four kills. Juliana Vassallo had seven digs to lead the Knights. Katie Lanz led the North Stars with 10 kills and Amanda Parker had six.
“I think we came in saying go out there and have fun. You have nothing to lose,” Violett said. “Just play as hard as you can. I think if we played like that all year long, we’d probably have lost only once.”