Volleyball regional roundup: Rockets need 3 sets but beat Glenwood for title

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JACKSONVILLE — The volleyball hopes of Sangamon County are riding on the backs of Rochester High School.

The Rockets were the only team from the county to win a regional title over any class as they beat Chatham Glenwood 26-24, 22-25, 25-19 in the Class 3A Jacksonville Regional championship game on Thursday.

“Obviously, we barely won the first set and the second set was fairly even and they pulled away on us,” Rochester coach Kallie Sinkus said. “The third set we were making less errors, we were controlling our side much better than in the second set and we got more comfortable keeping our lead.

“At one point we were up by eight or nine points and they started creeping back in it but we didn’t let them go on any kind of runs.”

Rochester senior outside hitter Mary Gegen led the Rockets with 10 kills while Emma Jiroutek added eight. Tatum Outlaw and Grace Petty each had seven kills for Rochester. Lauren Bloom had 17 assists and Kalyn Dixon finished with 15. Sophia Huerta had a team-high 24 digs for the Rockets while Petty added 15. Petty also finishd with three aces.

The Rockets (30-6) advance to the Mahomet-Seymour Sectional semifinals and will face Champaign St. Thomas More on Monday at 5:30 p.m. St. Thomas More won its own regional with a 25-13, 25-18 win over Mount Zion.

Rochester beat Glenwood 25-19, 25-15 in a Central State Eight Conference match on Oct. 22. Sinkus said Thursday’s Glenwood team played nothing like that one from 10 days prior.

“They battled hard and they were tough,” Sinkus said.

“Our serving was much tougher in the third set,” Sinkus said. “There were hustle plays for both sides in all three sets. (Rochester senior outside hitter) Mary Gegen did a great job on the outside for us, led us in kills and got some key stops. She really stepped up as a senior.”

It’s the first volleyball regional for the school since 2013. That year, the Rockets made a 3A supersectional appearance.

SInkus said the journey home was much different than the ones the team had taken the last two seasons when the Rockets were eliminated in regional championship games by Mount Zion.

“It’s complete opposite bus ride from last year,” Sinkus said. “The pressure is off.”

“We’re ready to see how far we can go.”

Class 2A

PANA 25-25, PARIS 23-19: At Teutopolis, Jillian Hamilton had 12 kills, two aces and 10 digs for the Panthers in their 27th win of the season. Alivia Reed also added 12 assists, seven digs and two aces for Pana. Rachel Holthaus had eight assists and an ace for the Panthers.

Pana advanced to face Fairfield in the Salem Sectional semifinals on Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Class 1A

LEWISTOWN 21-25-25, NEW BERLIN 25-15-21: At Mason City, Melana Bixby had 16 digs and five kills for the Pretzels in a tough three-set loss to Lewistown. Emily King had 11 kills and eight digs for New Berlin, which finished the season 27-10.

JACKSONVILLE ROUTT 25-25, CONCORD TRIOPIA 13-22: At Bluffs, the Rockets advanced to the Athens Sectional on Monday with straight set wins over Concord Triopia. Abby Lewis led Routt with 14 kills, nine digs and an ace. Makenna Baptist added 24 assists and four digs for the Rockets (21-14), who will face Lewistown at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4.

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