The Warriors captured a 15-5 lead in the first set thanks to a 9-0 run highlighted by dominant net play, but were helped by several Kaneland errors.
“The girls have done pretty well of avoiding [those runs] and playing the next ball,” Violett said. “The game is made of mistakes and kills, so you have to let it go and move on.”
Shelby Hannula stopped Sterling’s momentum with a kill, and started a stretch of four straight points for the Knights. Violett called timeout after three straight points by the Warriors, and her team answered with another 4-0 run.
Hannula served an ace to cut Kaneland’s deficit to 19-15, but Sterling was content to trade points down the stretch of the first.
The second set featured seven ties. The Knights jumped out to a 4-1 advantage early, but the Warriors kept it close during the middle part of the set.
Julianna Vassallo’s ace gave Kaneland a 13-12 edge, followed by three straight Sterling points. The Knights responded to tie the set at 15, but the Warriors surged ahead for good with a 7-1 run.
“[Kaneland] was really diverse with their setting in the first set and for most of the second before it got tight,” Sterling coach Dale Dykeman said. “But as the pressure mounted, they reverted back the tendencies we thought they’d go back to. We had prepared well for that.”