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DeKalb edged out in close 2-game sectional defeat

ALGONQUIN – In the end, DeKalb went down fighting.

All along, coach Ben Fisher expected to be in the position of competing in the sectional tournament. He preached to his team to keep believing, and the Barbs did just that Tuesday.

DeKalb was in each game against Boylan in the second match of the Class 4A Jacobs Sectional, but eventually fell, 25-23, 25-22.

Boylan will take on Prairie Ridge, which defeated Warren, 25-17, 25-18, for the sectional title Thursday.

“I don’t think people even expected us to be here,” junior setter Madison Lord said. “I’m not disappointed in the way we played. We fought hard but they’re a good team.”

Down 14-10 in the first game, Abby Hickey reeled off five straight service points to give the Barbs (29-9) a 15-14 lead. They would hold the lead, which eventually grew to 23-20 until Boylan (32-2) went on a five-point run of their own to take Game 1.

“We could have blocked the ball a lot better,” Fisher said. “We’re a better blocking team than we showed tonight. Their hitters made a lot of smart decisions where it put us in bad decisions to block the ball.”

DeKalb took the lead early in the second game but faded in the middle portion.

The Barbs eventually rallied to tie the game at 20-20 and force a Boylan timeout.

However, Boylan earned a sideout and finished the game on a 5-2 run to win the match.

“Our hitting was good for the most part and I thought people stayed aggressive,” junior outside hitter Courtney Bemis said. “I’m sure everyone’s happy with getting to sectionals. It’s something good and something to be proud of.”

Bemis was aggressive all evening, finishing with seven kills while Lord added seven assists.

Most of the contributors for the Barbs were sophomores and juniors, setting up an opportunity for more success with the DeKalb volleyball program.

“They finally bought into what we were trying to get across to them,” Fisher said. “The idea that in order to be in matches against good teams, you have to be in every point like it’s your last. We struggled to (do) that all season, but we bought into that four or five matches ago. We played our best volleyball at the end of the season.”

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