Shiloh Christian wrapped up the regular season on a high note.
The Skyhawks posted a 3-1 victory over Grant County on Tuesday night, sending them into the postseason with some momentum.
“Our goal was to stay consistent,” Skyhawks coach Tricia Sorensen said. “We’ve kind of been up and down, trying some different things and so we wanted to just kind of work through our errors and be consistent. We were kind of up and down in the match as well but we figured it out.”
The Skyhawks defeated the Coyotes 25-14, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16.
Graycin Wanzek set the tone for Shiloh early on.
The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter sparked the Skyhawks to big early leads in the first and final sets of the match. Wanzek finished with a game-high 17 kills and eight aces to go along with 11 digs.
“She’s been hitting really well,” Sorensen said. “We’ve been getting really good passes – Gabby (Kraemer) has been getting her great balls and she’s been putting them away so it was good to have her energy up there today. “
Wanzek posted three kills and three aces early on as Shiloh opened the first set by jumping out to a 13-4 lead.
Grant County battled back, pulling within 16-9 on a Molly Wetzel kill, but Shiloh finished on a 9-5 burst with Wanzek adding four more kills, including a big swing on game point for a 25-14 victory.
“Tonight we were really focused on working as a team,” Wanzek said. “Going into tournaments, that’s really important. Just work as hard as you can and work together.”
The Region 7 tournament opens on Thursday with three opening-round matches at home sites. The quarterfinals are set for Monday, Nov. 11 at New Salem.
“This late in the season, we really know where each other are going to be at, we’re really working on communication and just working together as one unit and not as individual players,” Wanzek said.
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An 8-1 run early in the second set – with three kills coming from Wanzek and an ace from Maddie Nelson – gave the Skyhawk an 11-3 lead. An Alyssa Larson kill, back-to-back aces by Wanzek and a tip kill by Aliya Shock pushed the Skyhawks’ lead to 17-5.
Eight consecutive points for the Coyotes pulled Grant County within 17-13 but Shiloh finished off a 25-18 win to take a 2-0 lead.
Malina Reynolds finished with 6 kills and Schock 5 for Shiloh (12-5, 7-2 Region 5). Kraemer dished out 29 assists, Kelsey Mischel had a match-high 32 digs and Nelson had 1 block for Shiloh.
The Skyhawks played well up front.
“We had a lot better blocking play at the net. It was really good to see some improvement on our net play throughout the year,” Sorensen said. “And we served pretty consistent. That’s been one of our strengths all year.”
Grant County used a 6-0 run midway through the third to take control, turning a 12-11 lead into a 17-11 margin and closing out a 25-18 victory to force a fourth set.
Molly Wetzel led the Coyotes (5-11, 3-7 Region 5) with 7 kills. Zoey Heid had 7 assists, Austyn Rafteseth had 15 digs, Anna Schatz nine blocks and Delaney Hoffman 4 aces.
Following the setback in the third, the Skyhawks wasted no time regaining the momentum in the fourth.
Shiloh opened on a 14-6 run – getting three kills and two aces from Wanzek, kills from Reynolds and Schock and an ace from Nelson. The Skyhawks built a 21-7 lead before Grant County battled back, getting within six at 22-16 before Shiloh ended the match on a kill by Reynolds, a block from Nelson and an ace from Reynolds on match point.
The win gives Shiloh a boost heading into the postseason.
“It really helps gives us some things that we’ve been doing well and some things that we need to work on and improve on the next week of practice,” Sorensen said. “A good game to close out the season.”
“We’re excited,” Wanzek said. “No matter how it goes, we’re just looking to work hard and hopefully play our best volleyball.”