ROCKFORD – All season long, the DeKalb girls volleyball team has been looking forward to the postseason.
The Barbs’ 2013 Northern Illinois Big 12 East title was nice, but what really matters to DeKalb is making a run in the IHSA Class 4A playoffs. The Barbs’ postseason run got off to a good start Tuesday, with DeKalb earning an easy 25-5, 25-10 win over Rockford East in the Class 4A Rockford Jefferson Regional semifinals.
The Barbs advance to Thursday’s regional final match, where they will take on No. 2 seed Huntley at 6 p.m. Huntley defeated Belvidere North, 25-13, 25-19, in Tuesday’s other semifinal match.
“I think we’re playing pretty well. I think that we played really really well about 3-4 weeks ago, and we kind of had a lull there for a little bit even though we still were winning,” DeKalb coach Ben Fisher said. “I think we’ve been playing better the last week or so, so I’m hoping that Thursday we’re able to come back and play well. We’re going to need to, obviously.”
Fisher’s Barbs, the top seed at the Jefferson Regional, had a 10-0 run with Courtney Bemis serving in the middle of the Game 1 win, and ended the first set on a 5-0 run. DeKalb (30-6) ended Game 2 on a 10-2 advantage. The No. 5 seed E-Rabs, never got anything going offensively.
“I thought we played pretty well defensively. I thought we were disciplined,” Fisher said. “I thought we served the ball well. We did the things well tonight that we’ve been doing well all season, with the exception of serve-receive.”
Abby Hickey and Courtney Bemis each had five kills for the Barbs. Madison Lord finished with 15 assists, while Nicole Schladt had 10 digs and Katie Hickey added five aces. Alexis Hammond had two blocks.
Schladt felt it was nice to get an easy, comfortable win in the team’s first regional contest.
“It gives us more confidence and energy in Thursday’s match,” she said.
With a victory Thursday evening, the Barbs would claim their fourth straight regional championship.
Schladt feels her team is playing well at the right time.
“I think we’re doing a lot better,” she said. “We really know each other’s weaknesses and strengths and that really helps, to help each other out on the court.”
Class 4A Rockford Jefferson Regional
(5) Rockford East def. (4) Rockford Jefferson, 25-18, 25-20
(1) DeKalb def. (5) Rockford East, 25-5, 25-10
(2) Huntley def. (3) Belvidere North, 25-13, 25-19
(1) DeKalb vs. (2) Huntley, 6 p.m.