Girls volleyball: Hampshire tips Burlington Central to claim Westminster title
Hampshire didn't flinch.
The Whip-Purs trailed Burlington Central 9-2 in the decisive third game of Saturday's Westminster Christian Tournament championship game. The Whip-Purs mounted a valiant rally outscoring the stunned Rockets 13-2 to win the title match 25-23, 17-25, 15-11.
It was second time in three days Hampshire defeated Central, knocking off the Rockets in Fox Valley Conference action Thursday night in Hampshire,
Calling timeout with her team down by 7 points, Hampshire coach Kim Millard wanted to keep her troops calm.
"I told them one point a time," said Millard. "We needed to stay positive and believe we could do it. I am very proud of this team. We got Burlington's best shot and we kept our composure."
Hampshire (7-5) received many key contributions down the stretch of Game 3 to complete the run.
Jacey Lambert, Kielee Tondryk and Kayla Cooper each collected 3 kills while Shannon Rafferty served 3 aces for the tournament champions. Lambert came up with the match-winning kill.
"Coach (Millard) did a great job of keeping us calm and confident during the end of the match," said Cooper. "Burlington really came at us hard the whole match with a lot of fire and intensity. It was a long day but it felt really good to win the championship.'
The Rockets (5-6) certainly had revenge on their minds from start to finish.
Propelled by 5 kills from Kathryn Schmidt and 3 kills from Rylie Hahn, Central jetted to an 11-3 advantage.
The Whip-Purs didn't panic.
On a kill by Hayley O' Reilly, Hampshire took the lead for good, 13-12.
The Whip-Purs took a 1-0 lead in the match on a kill by Tondryk.
In Game 2, the Rockets led from beginning to end. Holding a slim 16-15 lead, Central ripped off 8 straight points to seize control of the game. Addison Nava, Rachel Stoneman and Schmidt each had 2 kills during the run. An ace by Hahn tied the match at 1-1.
In Game 3, a kill by Schmidt gave the Rockets an early 9-2 lead.
Schmidt paced the Rockets with 11 kills, 6 blocks and 2 aces.
"Kat is our leader on and off the court," said Central coach Kristen Peara. "She had a great day."
Hahn added 9 kills with 3 aces for the Rockets.
"We played much better today against Hampshire than we did Thursday," said Peara. "We played with a lot more intensity and emotion. We elevated our play today and that was good to see."
O'Reilly led Hampshire with 10 kills while Tondryk collected 7 and Cooper 5.
Burlington Central and Hampshire traveled different paths to the championship match. The Rockets needed only 35 minutes to dispose of Boylan Catholic 25-14, 25-16 in the semifinals while the Whip-Purs outlasted Tinley Park 26-24, 20-25, 25-21.