Prairie Ridge claims sectional crown
Nursing a severely sprained ankle, Prairie Ridge senior standout Caitlin Brauneis wasn't about to let an injury hinder her performance.
Brauneis' spectacular effort included 11 kills, 5 blocks, 9 assists, 2 aces and 11 digs Thursday night, which led PR to a 25-21, 16-25, 25-17 win over Rockford Boylan in the championship game of the Class 4A Jacobs girls volleyball sectional in Algonquin.
PR (30-9) will take on Libertyville Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Hoffman Estates supersectional.
"I am going on adrenaline right now," said Brauneis. "The ankle feels fine right now. It will be sore, but I will deal with that. This was a great win. We didn't pass well or serve very well in the second game. But coach settled us down and we came out and played well in the third game."
Brauneis' fellow senior and 4-year starter Mackenzie Humm was also superb for the Wolves.
Humm collected 6 kills, 8 blocks, 3 aces and distributed 17 assists for the sectional champs.
"We were prepared for this match, but we came in blind because we had never played them before," said Humm. "We watched tape of their sectional match on Tuesday and knew they were a tough team. I am speechless because this is such a great feeling. We have gone through so much adversity this season. We came together in that third game."
PR coach Stefanie Otto praised her two leaders.
"Caitlin's playing hurt and she played great," said Otto. "Mackenzie played great especially in the third game. They both played great when we needed them to."
With the match tied at 1 game apiece, PR was determined to hold off the Titans' surge in the decisive third game.
With the game tied at 11, PR seized the lead for good at 12-11 on a kill by Humm. The Wolves' biggest lead in the game was 9, 22-13, after a kill by Taylor Otto.
Humm capped off the game and match with an ace.
"We had too many unforced errors in the second game," said coach Otto. "We continually shot ourselves in the foot. "You can't do that against a caliber team like Boylan. We neutralized them in the third game and we passed, served and served received better."
In a losing cause, Boylan sophomore outside hitter Alexis Varga slammed down 15 kills with 4 blocks and 3 aces.
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