With the game tied midway through the first set, it was pretty apparent something wasn’t quite right for the McHenry volleyball team in its Class 4A McHenry Regional semifinal match against Round Lake.
The No. 6-seeded Panthers had tied the game at 13 and seemed to be building to a possible upset. That’s when something clicked for McHenry. The early sluggish performance quickly turned into a focused and determined effort that helped them take the rest of the match into their own hands.
McHenry went on a 12-0 run to finish the first set win, which propelled them to a 25-13, 25-18 victory over Round Lake.
“I really thought our energy changed at that point of the game,” McHenry coach Jeff Brunstrum said. “I think our attitude and focus changed as well. It looked like we came out not ready for the game and then suddenly realized this team came to play and was not going to just hand us the victory.”
The decisive 12-0 run to end the first set was led by Haley Kornfeind’s five aces. Kornfeind executed one of McHenry’s pre-game goals of serving aggressively to give the Panthers a tough time handling the ball.
The Warriors (13-22) had a team total 12 aces and defensively adjusted well halfway through the first set to what Round Lake was doing with its offense early in the match.
Kornfeind led the team with eight kills and Zoe Lindsey had 13 assists and three aces for the Warriors. Jessica Flathau led the team led the team with 13 digs for the match. Mary Rouse and Kayla Chancellor each added four kills.
“It’s the end of the season, so we wanted to focus really hard on a strong finish tonight,” Kornfeind said. “We always start the year off real rocky, but by the end of the season we’re ready to win.”
With the win, the Warriors advanced to the regional final against No. 1-seeded Warren, who beat Zion-Benton earlier in the night. McHenry will have the home-court advantage in the match Oct. 31.
“We know Warren is a good team and that it’s going to be a real fast-paced game,” Brunstrum said. “We need to keep playing well defensively and try to take them out of their game as much as possible.”