Girls volleyball: Warren outlasts Stevenson for regional crown
It was a grueling battle through three sets and down to the final points. The gymnasium was loud with everyone on their feet in anticipation of the winning moment.
That's when Warren's Lauren Shaw placed a kill just inside the baseline that gave the Blue Devils a regional girls volleyball championship for the first time since 2014. Fifth-seeded Warren got past No. 3 seed Stevenson 25-21, 19-25, 25-23 in Gurnee on Thursday night.
"I was just looking for an open spot," said Shaw, who had 13 kills and 8 digs. "The team was working really hard and I was looking for that last kill. I just wanted to win it for all of us. It's super nerve-racking but we pushed through and it helped us more than anything. That point was exciting and it meant more than everything."
Warren will next play No. 2 seed Barrington in the Glenbrook South sectional semifinal in Glenview Monday at 6:30 p.m.
Warren (23-14) defeated Stevenson (25-12) in North Suburban Conference play and expected this meeting to be a tough one. It was since neither team had a lead by more than 5 points in the 1 hour, 20-minute match.
The Patriots had a 20-16 lead in the third set, when the Blue Devils called a time out to regroup.
"We had called a timeout and said this was it, have some fun, play and work at it, one point at a time," Warren coach Yun Chen said. "These kids believe in themselves. They started playing well and really stated that they can do something. Stevenson was a tough team to play against. We just got everybody to pick each other up and played well."
During the final stretch Gabrielle Brewer (4 kills, 34 assists) contributed with a couple of setter dumps into open space.
"It's a dump into zone one," Brewer said. "It's really the passing, a good pass on the net, where I can do it. It's not super hard and it's not easy."
Warren sophomore Ruth Ziegler (6-foot-3) added a couple of key kills (12, 3 digs) that took over the lead at 24-23.
"I think it was a great moment for the team to get the momentum back in that final set," Ziegler said. "It was great to contribute for the team and get the points back."
Kendal Crawford added 7 kills and 10 digs for the Blue Devils.
"It was disappointing the way it ended," Stevenson coach Tim Crow said. "Warren did a good job fighting back in that third set and they just made more plays than us. Credit to them and they did a great job overcoming their service errors in that final set. We've played in this environment a few times recently. The girls looked like they were handling it a lot better then the last couple of times we played."
Stevenson's leaders were Amanda Holsen (10 kills, 9 digs), Mia Jegers (8 kills), Bayarmaa Bat-erdene (12 digs), Lilliana Wangard (6 digs, 8 assists) and Abigail Minin with 13 assists.