BURLINGTON – At some point, Kaneland senior Katie Jablonski smacked her 1,000th career kill during Thursday’s Class 3A Burlington Central Regional final against Rock Falls.
She doesn’t know exactly when it happened, but what she does know is that it helped the Knights sweep a Rockets team that swept them on Sept. 4 – which, coincidentally, was also the last time the Knights lost.
Kaneland (33-4) won 25-15, 25-18, as Jablonski led the way with 12 kills.
“I think I got it [No. 1,000] sometime halfway through the match, but I’m not sure exactly when,” she said. “It feels great. Before the game even started, we were in the locker room and talking about how they had ‘Rowdies’ and beat us last time, so we had to come out with so much energy and confidence, and that really helped us a lot.”
A quick start and a perfectly executed game plan on its serving really sparked the Knights, who won their 24th straight match and advanced to Monday’s Woodstock North Sectional semifinals.
In the first set, Kaneland senior Sydney Fedderly served back-to-back aces, and Jablonski added three more aces in the first set.
“We were able to scout them the other night, plus we played them earlier,” Knights coach Cyndi Violett said. “So we were able to watch video and slow it down so they all knew where to go with the ball.”
Rock Falls (31-5) just never seemed to get anything going. After scoring three straight points to pull within 11-8 in Game 2, it finally seemed like the Rockets were putting things together, but it was short-lived.
“I thought we’d break out of it, but we were flat,” Rockets coach Sheila Mammosser said. “We just never adjusted, never got out of our funk, and it’s disappointing because we’re better than we showed. I told my team that win or lose, you leave your best out there, so it’s hard walking away with a little regret, because we’re better than that.”
Jablonksi thought some of that flatness was a direct result of how well the Knights played.
“I think we did really well in not allowing them to play well,” she said. “Our serving was super good and kept them out of system, so they couldn’t set their really good hitters as much. I think we just did a really good job on them.”
Even during the brief moments when things didn’t go their way, the Knights never panicked and got right back on track.
“They were focused and didn’t let anything get to them,” Violett said. “Even when they scored three points in a row on us, we bounced right back. That’s something they’re good at doing. They don’t let anything affect them, and just move on and play the next ball.”
Maya Sands had eight digs and four kills, Maddie Sands added deight digs, and Kennedy Shaw and Audra Goff each had five assists for RockFalls.
“We have to hold our heads high because we did a lot ofgreat things this year,” Mammosser said. “And I have pretty much the wholelineup coming back next year and there’s always room for improvement, and for myselftoo, because I need to mentally prepare them a little better. But I’m superproud of them and we have a lot of great memories.”
3A Burlington Central Regional final
Kaneland def. Rock Falls 25-15, 25-18
Star of the match: Katie Jablonski, Kaneland, 12 kills, including 1,000th of her career
Up next: 3A Woodstock North Sectional semifinal, Kaneland vs. Mundelein Carmel, 6:30 p.m. Monday