No. 2 seeded Hersey found itself trailing No. 15 Prospect 4-1 to start Tuesday's Class AA girls volleyball regional semifinal in Arlington Heights.
"That made us a little nervous," said Huskies senior defensive specialist Allie Mueller. "We looked at that score and realized we had to pick it up as a team and finish the match."
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The Huskies closed it out with a flourish.
They recovered from the early deficit with a 13-4 run and never trailed the rest of the match. posting 25-11, 25-10 triumph over their Mid-Suburban East rivals.
MSL champ Hersey (31-5) advances to the title match of its own regional on Thursday at 6 p.m. to face another MSL East foe, No. 10 Buffalo Grove (17-18).
Hersey took the lead for good in Set 1 at 7-6 on a hitting error by Prospect.
Huskies senior setter Abby Fesl (15 assists) then served an ace and reeled off 3 service points for a 10-6 lead.
Mueller served seven straight points to give Hersey a 24-10 lead.
After a kill by Knights junior Allie Skowron, the Huskies won the set on a hitting error.
"We just stayed focused," said Mueller (12-of-12 serving 5 digs), whose older sisters Katie, Shelly and Jenny also played on MSL East championship teams for Huskies coach Nancy Lill. "We just want to make sure we don't overlook any team we play. We know can't afford to if we want to have a chance at a deep run in the tournament."
The Huskies started Set 2 with tip by sophomore Courtney Stedman (match-high 6 kills) leading to a 7-1 lead.
It was 10-3 when Prospect junior Carly Thompson came up with back-to-back blocks and then a kill to cut deficit to 11-6.
But Hersey allowed only 4 more points and ended the match with five straight service points by junior Megan Solans, including an ace for the 24th point. Sophomore Gabriella Olhava ended the match with her fourth block.
"We came out a little shaky," Lill said. "We weren't being aggressive. Then we flipped a switch on and got back on track."
Senior libero Taylor Schill tracked the back row as usual for the Huskies, coming up with a match-high 19 digs.
Anna Mullen-Muhr and Olhava each added 4 kills while Erica Hill (3 blocks) and Fesl each had 3. Freshman Liz Fuerst put down 2.
Maggie Haaning (5 assists) and Bree Geweniger (3) set the attack for Prospect (13-24).
"Hersey handled us well but they are a great team," said Knights coach Mike Riedy. "I thought we stepped up well and it was a good way to end the season.
"We talked about having nothing to lose, going out and having fun and walking out of the gym proud of the way we played -- and I think they should be proud."