The Black Hawk College East Campus women’s volleyball team finished its season in competition Saturday, Nov. 8 at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill., at the Region IV Championships. The Warriors qualified for the Final Four by defeating Moraine Valley on Thursday, Nov. 6 to advance to the Championship on Saturday for the first time in the history of the program.
Three players also were named to the All-Tournament Team – Dominique Miller, Susan Timofeyev and Shelby Rickelman.
The Warriors began the Region IV Championships facing the No. 1 seed, Sauk Valley Community College, a team that entered the competition ranked 18th nationally. Black Hawk East played very well in the first two sets before falling by identical scores of 21-25.
“Each set came down to just a couple of plays that Sauk made and we were unable to make,” said coach Bob Grabbe. “I was very happy with our preparation and execution. Our chemistry and energy level were both very high. We had 12 kills and hit .250 in the first set and hit .320 with 10 kills in the second set.
“The third set got away from us, 14-25, as Sauk Valley got on a roll and we were just unable to slow them down. We were only able to manage six kills and a .238 hitting percentage. I was very happy with how we competed every point despite the score,” he said. Final score: 21-25, 21-25 and 14-25.
Leaders against Sauk Valley were:
- Susan Timofeyev of Moses Lake, Wash. – 8, .615
- Brianna Hobbs of St. David, Ill. – 7, .333
- Dominique Miller of San Antonio, Texas – 11
- Brianna Hobbs of St. David, Ill. – 7, .333
- Katelyn Wolf of Quincy, Ill. – 9
- Shelby Rickelman of Martinsville, Ind. – 9
As a team the Warriors had 14 block assists:
- Lindsey Sunderlage of Kingston, Ill. – 4
- Brianna Hobbs – 3
- Ellie Baldinger of Nashvile, Tenn. – 3
- Shelby Rickelman – 2
- Susan Timofeyev – 2
Black Hawk East’s second match of the day was against Kankakee Community College who entered the day ranked 20th nationally. The Warriors – looking to stay alive in the hunt for a trip to the National Finals in Phoenix, Ariz. – played one of the most exciting matches of the day and the season.
The first set went back and forth with both teams playing at a high level. The Warriors hit an outstanding .406 with 19 kills and prevailed 30-28 to take a 1-0 lead. KCC evened things up in the second set with a 25-19 win.
“Our offense struggled some in the second set, and we were only able to manage to hit .065 with 9 kills. We bounced back in the third set hitting a respectable .222 with 16 kills to win 25-20, taking a 2-1 lead,” Grabbe said.
As is often the case in volleyball, the momentum shifted several times in the fourth set. The Warriors jumped out to a nice lead of 8-3 before Kankakee rallied to take the lead 16-14.
“We got tentative in the fourth and started playing not to lose instead of playing to win. There was a stretch about 3/4 of the way through the fourth set where we lost focus and energy before I called a timeout and challenged them,” Grabbe said.
“I was very happy with how they responded and we made a very nice run, but it was too late as Kankakee held on for the 25-21 win with the Warriors hitting .071 on 9 kills,” he said.
“The fifth and deciding set started out about as bad as one could imagine,” Grabbe said. “We missed our first serve and made three or four errors in a row to fall behind 6-2 and 8-3 before turning things around. We made a couple of runs to close the gap to 13-8 before going on a big run to take the lead 14-13.”
“KCC called a timeout and it was effective. We missed our serve on match point and even though the next two points were very hard fought with both teams hitting the ball really hard, Kankakee was able to score the final two points of the set to win it 16-14 and the match 3-2.”
The Warriors had eight kills in the shortened set and hit .222 before bowing out at 30-15. Final scores: 30-28, 19-25, 25-20, 21-25 and 14-16
Leaders against Kankakee were:
- Shelby Rickelman – 9, .318
- Kylie Acuna of Enumclaw, Wash. – 11, .049
- Brianna Hobbs – 10, .259
- Susan Timofeyev – 9, .000
- Dominique Miller – 25 assists
- Katelyn Wolf – 21
- Kylie Acuna – 21
- Dominique Miller – 18
- Shelby Rickelman – 16
- Alexis Smith – 14
- Katelyn Wolf – 13
- Lindsey Sunderlage – 10
Susan Timofeyev had one solo block and two assists.
“The girls took the loss pretty hard. They gave every ounce of effort they had and left it all on the court, “ said Grabbe. “We battled injury and illness most of the season, especially the past three weeks or so, and they never quit along the way or today. They realize that they might have let one get away, especially against Kankakee, and their dream of a trip to Nationals along with it.
“Despite coming up short of their goal, this volleyball team advanced farther than any team in school history. There are hundreds of teams across the country who would trade places with them in a heartbeat. To finish in the Final 4 as District Runner is a great accomplishment. I hope when the pain and the sting dissipates, they can look back on this season and realize that.”
“I have been coaching a long time and have had the privilege of coaching some great kids and some great teams. I can say without a doubt that this was the strongest team I’ve had the good fortune to coach,” he said.
“I am closer to this group of players than I have ever been to any other, and that is saying a lot because I have developed some great relationships over the years. I miss them already!”