Kaneland's reward for winning its first regional since 1991: a matchup with Ali Frantti and Richmond-Burton. The Knights couldn't figure out how to stop Frantti as the Rockets ended Kaneland's season, 25-7, 25-18, in the semifinals of the Class 3A Marian Central sectional.
Richmond (34-4) will play for the regional title Thursday, but the Knights wouldn't let the defeat dampen a historic season.
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"This is just the icing," said Kaneland coach Todd Weimer. "I think its great. It's something we'll always remember about these guys, is having won the 2012 regional."
Things got off to a rocky start for Kaneland as Frantti, who orally committed to Penn State last week, had 6 kills in the first game. The Knights trailed just 7-5 after a kill by Ashley Prost, but it was all R-B after that. The Rockets scored the final 10 points of the game, with Alex Callahan at the service line for the last 9.
After the Knights (23-13) got over the jitters, they played the Rockets tough in Game 2. An ace by Keri Groen capped a 4-0 run to get Kaneland within 14-10. Frantti had 4 kills during a 5-2 run to make it 19-12, but the Knights rallied again. A kill by Ellie Dunn started a 6-1 run that made it 21-18, but that was as close as they could get.
Dunn led the Kaneland attack with 6 kills. Lyndi Scholl added 4 and Emily Laudont added 3. Libero Shayna Tucek had 7 digs as well as a couple of aces, and setter Prost had 10 assists.
Frantti finished with a match-high 13 kills, throwing down some hard strikes that kept the Knights off-balance all night.
"We couldn't do a lot defensively and on serve receive," Wiemer said. "They put a lot of pressure on us tonight."
The Rockets were determined not to get caught looking past Kaneland to a possible rematch with the host Hurricanes, who ended the Rockets' season last year.
"We try not to get ahead of ourselves," said Frantt, "But, yeah, I couldn't be prouder of our girls right now."