It will be a tough road for Cary-Grove's girls volleyball team to advance to the Class 4A state championship match for a fourth straight year.
But, the Trojans aren't quite ready to hang up the uniforms for the 2012 season.
Losing the first game to fifth seeded Crystal Lake Central 25-22, the resilient Trojans bounced back to win the second and third games 25-17, 25-15 to defeat Central Monday night and advance to the semifinals of the Class 4A Crystal Lake South regional.
The fourth-seeded Trojans (19-15) will take on top seeded Prairie Ridge today at 6:30 p.m.
"These girls have so much heart and fight to the very end," said Cary-Grove coach Patty Langanis. "We were hitting on all cylinders the last two games. The girls really stepped up."
The Trojans started their comeback in Game 2 by jumping off a 12-5 lead after a kill by Mallory Wilczynski.
The Tigers got to within of 5 the Trojans 22-17 when Lauren Leverenz blasted a kill.
But the Trojans tied the match at 1-1 on a game ending kill by Ally Vasquez.
The deciding third game was tightly contested throughout. Leading 18-15, the Trojans scored the final 7 points to win the game and match.
Alex Larsen's kill advanced the Trojans to the semifinals and ended Central's season.
Wilczynski paced the Trojans with 6 kills, 3 blocks and 2 aces.
"Central is an amazing team and this was an intense match," said Wilczynski, a senior middle hitter. "I didn't want my career to end. After the first game, coach instilled a lot of confidence in us and told us we could win the next two games."
Jacobs d. Dundee-Crown: Behind 12 kills and 4 aces from Alyssa Ehrhardt, third-seeded Jacobs advanced to the semifinals with a 25-16, 25-11 win over sixth seeded Dundee-Crown. Jacobs (27-9) takes on second seeded Crystal Lake South today at 7:30 p.m.
"We have so many young players who have never played in a regional," said Ehrhardt. "I have been in these situations before and had to make sure The younger players were relaxed and ready to play. This was a great team win."
Led by 5 kills and 2 aces by Ehrhardt, the Golden Eagles cruised to an early 14-3 lead over the Chargers. Ehrhardt's kill gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead in the match.
Dundee-Crown tried to take away the momentum in Game 2 and took a 9-8 lead after a kill by Kiana Mays.
But the Golden Eagles grabbed the momentum away from the Chargers with a 9-2 run led by 3 kills from Katie Mahoney.
Leading 17-10, Jacobs ended the game and match on an 8-1 run capped by a kill from Rachel Arceneaux.
"We set the tone in the first game and our passing was excellent," said Jacobs coach Lisa Dwyer. Our young kids settled down and they played very well."
Mays paced D-C (14-22) with 7 kills.
"We have played some younger kids lately and have played different rotations," said D-C coach Christine Hopkins-Muehl. "We had some positives tonight and the girls played hard. But our lack of communication really hurt us."