Girls volleyball: Hard-hitting Minooka stops Stevenson
NORMAL -- Stevenson volleyball star Jori Radtke summed up the Patriots' scouting report for their Class 4A state semifinal as succinctly as one could.
"They're hard to defend," Radtke said after the Patriots were dispatched by Minooka 25-17, 25-13 on Friday night at Redbird Arena. "They could hit it all over the floor."
Behind an efficient assault from three Division I-bound hitters, Minooka handed the Patriots their worst loss of the season to end their 12-match winning streak and send Stevenson into Saturday's third-place match.
"We had a lot more errors than we usually make," said Stevenson coach Tim Crow. "Minooka is talented, long and athletic. They probably do that to a lot of teams."
Minooka outside hitter Rocky Perinar, who is headed to Tennessee, led the way with 10 kills on 23 swings. Alli Papesh (Dayton) and Holly Bonde (Kansas State) had seven each. All three are juniors.
The Indians (35-6) will play for the state title against 14-time champion Mother McAuley (39-1) at 8:55 p.m. Saturday.
Stevenson (32-8) will play Niles West for third place at 7:25 p.m. In September, Niles West downed Stevenson, 25-16, 25-19, in the Maine East tournament.
In its first state semifinal appearance in school history, Minooka compiled a .355 hitting percentage that produced 29 kills. The Indians' high-flying attack contributed to Stevenson's 13 attack errors and a .058 hitting percentage.
"I liked the way it started out in both sets," Crow said. "We felt focused. But it got pretty sloppy after that, and we just had a collective collapse."
The Northern Illinois-bound Radtke led the Patriots with 8 kills and 10 digs in a frenetic pace the Indians dictated for Stevenson's back row.
"We came from so many different teams," Radtke said. "Some of us were varsity last year, some JV, some sophomore. It was cool to see it come together, but nerves got the best of us tonight."
Left-handed sophomore Sophie Sorenson added 5 kills, and junior Alex Cuc had 16 assists.
"We've come so far as a team that you hate to see us play like that," Sorenson said. "We didn't have as much experience as Minooka, so maybe that's the reason they won."