GENESEO – One would think that the second time playing a team in a championship setting would be tough.
For the Sterling volleyball team, that part seemed to be easy in a 3A Geneseo Regional title tilt with Metamora.
Nearly a month removed from their previous meeting in the championship of the Sterling Invitational, the Golden Warriors played much better against the Redbirds in a 25-18, 25-13 win.
Of Sterling’s 50 points, 38 came on kills and blocks.
“It’s insane to have so many good hitters,” Sterling senior Macie Good said. “Most teams have one or two, but we have four, and all four pin hitters can really slam the ball down. It’s really great to be able to count on each other.”
Their work so far this season has not just been rewarded with the
Warriors’ fifth straight regional championship, but also a new school record for wins with 35 (against two losses).
Josi Borum and younger sister Brooklyn led the Golden Warriors with 12 kills each. Good added six kills, and Brooklyn’s twin sister, Breelyn, added three kills and two blocks.
“They couldn’t stop us,” Josi Borum said. “We were just killing it down the line, and everybody was killing it – Macie, Brook, even our middles had a few kills. We all just stepped up to play today.”
Josi Borum had Sterling’s first four kills in a 4-2 start, and Gabby Schilling’s block in the middle on Amanda Greening gave the Warriors a three-point lead. However, Sterling couldn’t gain much more room after that until back-to-back kills from Brooklyn Borum, one from the right pin and the other from the left pin straight across the sideline, put the Warriors up 21-16.
“I was trying to hit in a line because I knew that’s where their open spot was,” Brooklyn Borum said. “That’s where I get most of my kills from.”
Josi Borum once again had a strong start to Sterling’s second set with four kills in her team’s first five points. Metamora couldn’t recover from that start, and a string of hitting errors and a rotation error pushed Sterling to a large enough lead to control the rest of the second set.
“It’s one of the greatest matches we’ve played all year, outside of [LaSalle-Peru] at home, and maybe Metamora when we had them in our championship game,” Sterling coach Dale Dykeman said. “I don’t think we played quite as well [then] as we did here.”
“We’ve come together as a team more,” Good said of the time since the teams’ last meeting. “We’ve come together and play for each other. We play for the seniors, and we don’t want this to be our last game. We just went out there and killed it for each other. We wanted it for each other.”
Lexi Rodriguez had a busy night on defense, scooping up 21 digs mostly against the Redbirds’ corner attack of Greening, who led her team with four kills, and Maddie Stott, who led with two blocks.
“We wanted to get more touches, but they’re a really, really good team,” Metamora coach Tara Ballard said. “It’s a bummer that we had to play them in the regional, but they played awesome and we didn’t execute some of the things that we wanted to.”
Sterling advances to the 3A Galesburg Sectional semifinals against Bartonville Limestone at 6:30 p.m. Monday; the Rockets defeated Morton 25-14, 25-20 in the finals of the Washington Regional on Thursday. LaSalle-Peru and Peoria Notre Dame play in Monday’s first semifinal.
3A Geneseo Regional final
Sterling def. Metamora 25-18, 25-13
Star of the match: Brooklyn Borum, Sterling, 12 kills, 14 digs
Key performers: Lexi Rodriguez, Sterling, 21 digs; Josi Borum, Sterling, 12 kills, 12 assists; Breelyn Borum, Sterling, 14 assists, 14 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks; Amanda Greening, Metamora, 4 kills
Up next: 3A Galesburg Sectional semifinals, Sterling vs. Limestone, 6:30 p.m. Monday