Wauconda coach Alison Williams nonchalantly extended her right arm after her players tried unsuccessfully to keep alive an attack by Lakes' hard-hitting Megan Behrendt.
And not even Williams' whack could keep Behrendt's spike in play.
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No one was stopping the home team -- and, particularly, Behrendt -- in Tuesday's first Class 3A volleyball regional semifinal at Lakes. The Eagles, the top seed in their own regional, won 27-25, 25-20 to end the fourth-seeded Bulldogs' season.
Behrendt slammed 5 consecutive kills, including the one that Wauconda's coach fended off, in the second set alone to help Lakes extend its lead to 19-10. The 5-foot-8 sophomore hitter had 10 kills in the set and 13 for the match.
The victory earned Lakes (27-8) a berth in Thursday's 6 p.m. regional final against No. 2 Grayslake Central (24-12), which rallied past No. 3 Antioch 14-25, 25-21, 25-18.
"I just wanted to push through and win this for my team," said Behrendt, who also had 11 digs. "I was like, 'I'm just going to put it down.' I just hit it harder each time."
A captain along with Haley Halberg and Abbie Mehnert, Behrendt wasn't about to let her teammates down.
"I just want to push the girls, and they push me," Behrendt said. "It's all a team effort."
Lakes sophomore setter Maddie Demo recognized the hot hand, as she continually lofted balls in Behrendt's direction in the second set.
"I'm absolutely aware (of who has the hot hand)," said Demo, who dished out 25 assists. "Megan's a huge asset to our team."
Lakes faced a 23-20 deficit in the opening set but rallied, in part, thanks to a kill by Behrendt and an ace by Demo that evened the set at 23-23. Back-to-back kills by freshman McKenna Lahr ended it.
"I think we were a little nervous (at the start)," Behrendt said. "We finally got into a rhythm and we just kept going and going, and then we won."
Wauconda jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the second set thanks to the hitting of LeAnne Sakowicz (kill, back-to-back aces) and later led 6-3, but one of Halberg's 6 kills snapped a 10-10 tie and put the Eagles in front for good.
Down 20-10, Wauconda mounted a comeback. Susan Karhoff's kill staved off defeat and pulled the Bulldogs within 24-20, before an attack went wide to end it.
Halberg and Allie Grandos finished with 4 and 3 blocks, respectively, while Lahr totaled 5 kills for the Eagles. Aly Bathery led Lakes in digs with 15.
"One of the big values of our team is working together," Demo said. "That's something we've been focusing on all year, and it's finally come together. ... We always say, 'When we swing, we do well.' When the passing is there and the hitters are up, it all comes together. It's so exciting."