Girls volleyball: Seniors spark Jacobs to regional crown
It was the final go-around for Ireland Van Stone and Jaclyn Poirier.
Having suited up for the Jacobs girls volleyball team for four years, the senior duo wanted to be the ones to lead the Golden Eagles to the program's first regional title since 2008.
They did just that.
Van Stone and Poirier combined for 15 kills as Jacobs overcame an early deficit in the first set to power past St. Charles North 25-22, 25-14 in Thursday night's Class 4A Streamwood regional championship match.
After falling behind 9-3 in the opening set, Van Stone powered three straight kills to cap a Jacobs 9-3 run to get the score back to even.
"Swinging hard, honestly, might just get you a point," said Van Stone, who also added two blocks and an ace in the victory. "I feel like we were able to get them out of system a little bit tonight and when we get good passes, like we did tonight, Jaclyn and I just absolutely rip."
The remainder of the first set was back and forth before Van Stone's final kill of the first set gave the Golden Eagles (25-10) a 21-20 lead. They went on the score four of the next five points to take the opening set.
Poirier started and ended things in the second set for Jacobs. Her fifth of eight kills on the night got the Golden Eagles on the board and it was her ace on the match's final point that etched her and her teammates' names in the Jacobs record books.
"I think we just had a positive mindset all night," Poirier said. "That really helped us early in the match tonight. I think we knew that we were going to shake off those [early] nerves. I think that really helped us have positive energy out there and work as one tonight. We just wanted it so much more tonight."
Even after falling down a point early in the second set -- at 6-5 -- three kills by Van Stone aided a 14-1 Golden Eagles' run to pull them within reach of the regional title.
Jacobs' offensive outburst overshadowed strong performances from Jessica Parker (three kills, two aces) and Riley Moreno (three kills) in the loss for the North Stars (23-14).
"We did not play even close to our game [tonight]," St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins said. "There's only so much you can do when you're not playing well and I just think our minds were on other things tonight and made it pretty easy to beat."
Jacobs coach Mike Depa was in college the last time the Jacobs girls volleyball program won a regional title. While he has coached at each level within the Jacobs volleyball program, he said it seemed like Van Stone and Poirier led the team to a different mentality than their first three years on varsity and his first as varsity head coach.
"Our seniors just continually pushed each other to get better every single practice and game," Depa said. "They have talked so much about how this season is just different than past ones. We had some setbacks, but when you have strong leadership, you don't let those setbacks derail you. I told our seniors that they were going to set the tone tonight and I think they played one of the best games they have played all year tonight."
Jacobs advances to the Class 4A Grant sectional semifinals against the sectional's top seed, Hononegah, on Monday at 5:30 p.m.