Lancers Sneak Past Skins On Way To Title Game

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Wednesday’s regional semifinal was everything you’ve come to expect from the Lincolnwood/Nokomis rivalry. 

Both teams played all out, diving on the floor, sprinting to balls that looked as if they were impossible to catch and building each other up on the rare occasion of a mistake.

Ultimately, Lincolnwood managed to get past the Redskins in straight sets, 25-19, 25-20, but the road to the regional championship was anything but smooth for the Lancers on Oct. 27.

Nokomis held an early 3-1 lead in game one, but Lincolnwood rallied to tie the game at three and never trailed after that point. Still, the Redskins kept it close, staying within two or three points before the Lancers strung some points together with Avery Pope, Jasmine Vickery and Haelee Damm at the serving line. The stretch helped the Lincolnwood lead grow from three points to nine as they held a 17-8 advantage at one point.

Nokomis worked to get back into the game and were successful as they outscored Lincolnwood 9-3 to make it 20-17 after Rean Ward’s block, one of several in the game for the Redskins, who caused some problems for the potent Lincolnwood hitters.

Nokomis wouldn’t be able to get any closer, though, as the two teams traded points and Vickery served up the last two points in the six-point win.

If game one was close, the margins in game two were razor thin as Lincolnwood’s biggest lead came at the very end by five points. The two teams were tied 13 times in the game, the last of which came at 17-17 after a kill by Nokomis’ Addison Dangbar. The Lancers retook the lead with kills from Hailee Belsher and Jazmin Seaton-Hobson and held off the Redskins long enough to claim victory and advance to the regional championship game on Thursday, Oct. 28.

With the loss, Nokomis finishes the season with a record of 14-20, with 14 of those losses coming against teams with winning records. They also got better as the season progressed, going 9-3 leading up to Wednesday’s game, which bodes well for the future.

They’ll lose two key seniors, Skylar Stewart and Presley Lamb, but return the top three players in kills and digs, plus several others high up in the ranks for blocks, aces and assists.

If Lincolnwood has their sites set on a 16th regional championship, the road to sectionals runs through Mt. Pulaski. The Hilltoppers upset South County in three games in Wednesday night’s second game, winning 27-29, 26-24, 25-19.

The last time the Lancers played Mt. Pulaski in the postseason was in 2015, in the championship game of the Pawnee Sectional. The Hilltoppers won that game 25-6, 25-22 to earn Donna Dulle her 23rd and final sectional title. But Dulle’s contract was not renewed after 40 years last season and Mt. Pulaski is 16-14 on the season, having entered the regional as the number seven seed.

Lincolnwood is a different program than they were in 2015 as well. Whether or not that means a different result than 2015, fans will find out  at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, in Edinburg.

October 27 at Edinburg

Lincolnwood 25 25

Nokomis 19 20

Lincolnwood Statistics

Service Points: Jasmine Vickery 8, Haelee Damm 7, Desi Pitchford 6, Hailee Belsher 4, Avery Pope 4, Sidney Glick 2. Aces: Jasmine Vickery 2, Avery Pope 2, Haelee Damm 2, Hailee Belsher 1. Kills: Hailee Belsher 14, Jazmin Seaton-Hobson 6, Haelee Damm 4, Desi Pitchford 4, Sidney Glick 1, Tessa Funderburk 1. Assists:  Avery Pope 13, Tessa Funderburk 12, Sidney Glick 4. Digs: Jasmine Vickery 15, Hailee Belsher 14, Sidney Glick 13, Desi Pitchford 13, Haelee Damm 10, Avery Pope 8, Jazmin Seaton-Hobson 3, Tessa Funderburk 3. Blocks: Hailee Belsher 1.

Nokomis Statistics

Service Points: Skylar Stewart 8, Hailey Engelman 6, Addison Dangbar 3. Kills: Audrey Sabol 8, Addison Dangbar 4, Hailey Engelman 4, Skylar Stewart 3. Assists: Presley Lamb 9, Hailey Engelman 6. Blocks: Audrey Sabol 7, Reaghan Jonas 3, Skylar Stewart 2, Hailey Engelman 2. Digs: Emily Cress 11, Addison Dangbar 11, Natalie Engelman 9, Hailey Engelman 8. 

Records: Lincolnwood (31-5-1); Nokomis (14-20).

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