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home : sports : sports Friday, April 24, 2015

11/6/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
All eyes are on Rebel junior Courtney Stoll as she prepares to send the ball over the net during Thursday’s 3A region 7 semifinal between Northeast and Center Point-Urbana. Stoll assisted on a team-best 11 kills during the match and also had four digs in the Rebels’ setback.
Stormin' Pointers rally in game two, topple Northeast
The start was not what they wanted, but the Northeast volleyball team looked like it would make up for it during the second game of Thursday night's 3A regional semifinal with Center Point-Urbana.

The Stormin' Pointers were able to pick up a comfortable victory in the opening set, but things were very different in the second game as Northeast grabbed an early advantage and began to widen it.

The Rebel lead grew as large as six in the set, and the visitors seemed poised to even up the match at a game apiece.

That is when the balanced Pointer attack took over.

Boasting six different players with over 100 kills, Center Point-Urbana kept the Rebels off-balance and began to chip away at the lead.

Soon, the second game was back up for grabs and it was the surging Pointers - who are ranked 15th in class 3A - who claimed it 25-21.

Center Point-Urbana used the momentum of its comeback and a raucous home crowd to finish off the match in game three as the Stormin' Pointers ended the Rebels' campaign with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-18 victory.

"I was very proud of the effort the girls gave," Northeast head coach Brenda McKone said. "I thought we had a chance at the second one (game), but Center Point just had too many weapons."

The Stormin' Pointers finished the match with 32 kills and they came from multiple places on the court as six different players had at least three.

It took some time for the Rebels to find their footing against the Pointers, and Center Point-Urbana picked up a 10-point victory in set one.

"We played a little nervous to start out," McKone said. "We had a let-down during set one."

That was certainly not the case in game two, however, as Northeast hung right with its foe and began to pull away in the middle of the set.

The Rebels held a slim 10-9 lead before reeling off three-straight points. Center Point-Urbana ended the run, but then put its ensuing serve into the net.

That miscue ended up being the first point of another three-point push for Northeast, as Addie Oberman and Ashley Kruse smacked back-to-back kills, and it was 16-10 Rebels.

Northeast had a hand in the next three points as well, but unfortunately each of them went to the Pointers - the Rebels hit a serve into the net and then were whistled for two-straight violations.

The disjointed play continued. Center Point-Urbana saw its three-point run end on a serve into the net, but the Rebels mishit their serve as well.

The Stormin' Pointers returned the favor by hitting a kill out of bounds, but Center Point-Urbana earned a point moments later when a Northeast block landed out of bounds.

That spurred a four-point push by the Pointers and suddenly the match was tied at 18-18.

The Rebels were able to break the tie on another bad Center Point-Urbana serve, but the Pointers knotted things up again with a kill and then hit another one to grab their own lead.

Northeast answered back with Tierra Hildebrandt putting down her own kill to tie things once more (20-20).

The Pointer attack, though, only seemed to be warming up and two more kills gave Center Point-Urbana the lead and forced a Rebel timeout.

Northeast got a point back after the break when the Stormin' Pointers hit the ball long, but Center Point-Urbana responded with a kill and then tacked on two more points to finish off the 25-21 win.

Game three started with more back-and-forth volleyball.

Center Point-Urbana opened the game with a point, but Northeast struck back with a Peyton Gray kill and a Pointer attack error.

The two teams ended up splitting the first 10 points and then even traded the next six (Baylie Parson, Hildebrandt and Kelsey Carder all had kills during the stretch) to produce an 8-8 tie.

The Stormin' Pointers, though, began to find their groove and the team racked up three kills and an ace during a string of seven-straight points.

Gray ended the run with a block, but that just proved to be a speed bump for Center Point-Urbana, which followed the Rebel point with a 9-4 surge to set up match point.

It did not come easy. The Stormin' Pointers wasted their first chance by putting their serve into the net and followed it up by hitting a kill out of bounds.

Hildebrandt followed with her own kill for the Rebels and Center Point-Urbana was called for a violation, leading to a Pointer timeout.

Parson followed the break with an ace and the lead was down to six. The Rebels, though, ended up putting an attack into the net and Pointers had their victory.

Oberman racked up seven kills in the match, while Kruse added five and Hildebrandt three.

Courtney Stoll assisted on 11 of the kills with Carder helping out on three others. Parson paced the Rebel defense with 17 digs, while Stoll had seven and three different Northeast players - Carder, Hildebrandt and Oberman - had four.

Butler picked up a team-best two blocks in the match with Parson serving up the lone ace for the Rebels, who say goodbye to seven seniors.

"We will certainly miss our seniors next year," McKone said.

Editor's note: One player who will have the opportunity to return and again contribute for the Rebels next fall is Alicia Perez, who was incorrectly identified as a senior in Saturday's Observer. Perez is a junior. My apologies for the error.


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