It had been 21 years since the Kaneland girls volleyball team had won a regional championship.
Finally the Knights have another plaque to put the wall.
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No. 1 seed Kaneland never trailed Thursday night as it beat No. 2 Sycamore, 25-19, 25-23, in the Class 3A Hampshire regional title match.
"It's honestly the best feeling knowing that I can come back to my school 20 years later and know that I was part of that and I made that happen," said Kaneland senior Lyndi Scholl, who had seven kills and seven digs. "That's probably the best feeling I can carry into my life."
The Knights (23-12), who last won a regional title in 1991, will play Richmond-Burton at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Marian Central sectional in Woodstock.
Sycamore (25-14) and Kaneland split two regular-season matchups. On Thursday, the Knights just seemed to want it more.
Kaneland didn't record a kill while building an 8-3 as the Spartans made three hitting errors and three service errors early. Emily Laudont's kill for a 9-7 lead was the Knights' first kill.
"We played really, really tight in the first game," Sycamore coach Debbie Klock said. "(The Knights) talked more than we did. They hustled more than we did."
Back-to-back kills from Scholl gave Kaneland a 14-8 lead. The Spartans twice got within a point at 18-17 and 19-18. But two more mistakes allowed Kaneland to increase the lead back to three, 21-18. Lauren Banbury put the opening game away with one of her five kills.
The Knights led by as many as five points in Game 2. But Sycamore rallied to tie the game at 20-20 after an ace from Ratasha Garbes, who finished with a match-high nine kills. Two consecutive errors from the Spartans gave the Knights a 22-20 lead. A Brittany Huber kill got Sycamore back within one. Scholl then used her left hand, her off hand, for a tip kill to make it 23-21. After a kill from Sycamore's Emily Young, another Spartans hitting error gave the Knights match point at 24-22. Scholl had a service error to make it 24-23. Kaneland Ellie Dunn tapped over an overpass from Sycamore, which then was unable to keep the ball inbounds as the Knights began to celebrate.
"I don't know if this is our best match or not ... but this was the best effort that I saw from these girls," Kaneland coach Todd Weimer said. "They were flying all over the place, diving over each other, hitting the floor. That's heart. That's dedication."
Dunn added four kills for the Knights. Ashley Prost finished with three kills, 10 digs and nine assists. Shayna Tucek had 17 digs.