The Sauk Valley Community College women’s volleyball team split its first two matches at the NJCAA Division II National Championships on Thursday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, winning the opener but falling in a hard-fought five sets in the quarterfinals.
The Skyhawks cruised past North Dakota State College of Science in straight sets in the first round, 25-13, 25-15, 25-19.
Michal Willman spiked 10 kills, added eight digs and served three aces to go along with four blocks for Sauk. Kiley Sanders had seven kills, three digs, two blocks and an ace; and Tiana Tichler finished with six kills and five blocks. Jaelyn Fitzgerald had four kills and a block, Juliana Rotella added three kills and a block, Kierra Collins spiked a pair of kills and stuffed three blocks, and Hannah Adams had a kill and a dig for the Skyhawks.
Audra Goff dished 16 assists and served two aces, Gabby Jones had 14 assists and three digs, and Maddie Sands chipped in 11 digs and an assist in the win.
That earned fifth-seeded Sauk (40-3) a spot in the quarterfinals against No. 4 seed Johnson County (Kansas). After dropping the first two sets by identical 25-19 scores, the Skyhawks fought back to win the third set, 26-24, then took the fourth set, 25-20, to force a fifth and final set. But an early run by Johnson County put Sauk in an 8-3 hole, and it couldn’t dig itself out.
Willman had 30 kills, seven digs, five aces, four blocks and two assists; and Sanders finished with 13 kills and eight digs. Tichler chipped in seven kills and five blocks, Goff had 23 assists, five digs and three aces; and Jones dished 22 assists. Sands chipped in 12 digs, and Rotella finished with two kills and four digs. Fitzgerald had a kill, a dig and three blocks.
In the quarterfinal loss, Willman set the NJCAA Division II single-season kills record in the rally-scoring era. She now has 802 kills this season, breaking the mark of 797 set by Parkland’s Fia Willis in 2017. Willman also did it in fewer sets; Sauk has played 146 sets this season, while Willis played in 172 sets in 2017.
In the fifth-place consolation semifinals, the Skyhawks defeated Kirkwood, 25-23, 27-25, 25-22. Willman had 33 kills, 10 digs, six blocks and three aces; with Sanders adding 13 kills, 13 digs and an ace. Fitzgerald finished with a kill and five blocks, Sands added 13 digs and six assists, Jones dished 19 assists, and Goff chipped in 22 assists, three digs and three aces. Addyson Kinn stuffed three blocks.
Sauk (41-3) will play for fifth place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, looking to match its program-record fifth-place finish a year ago, in its sixth trip to nationals in the past eight seasons.
Oregon 50, Milledgeville 21: The Hawks rolled to 2-0 on the season with a win over the Missiles at the Oregon Tip-Off Tournament.
Hadley Lutz scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second half as Oregon pulled away after taking a 20-14 lead into halftime, outscoring Milledgeville 19-2 in the third quarter. Mariah Drake had 12 points, Teagan Champley scored eight, and Mya Engelkes added six.
Olivia Schurman led Milledgeville with seven points, Adriana Miller scored five, and both had three rebounds; Miller left the game midway through the first quarter with an ankle injury. Rylee Matthews added four points and seven rebounds.
Pecatonica 48, West Carroll 40: The Thunder’s fourth-quarter rally fell short in an Oregon Tip-Off Tournament game.
Trailing 37-23 heading into the final period, West Carroll outscored Pec 17-11 but couldn’t quite get over the hump. Tori Moshure finished with 15 points and four assists, and Kylie Hill scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds for the Thunder. Abbey Skiles had eight rebounds three assists and three steals, and Kendal Asay added seven rebounds, five blocks and four steals.
Madison Carlson’s 16 points paced Pec, with Payton Thomas scoring 11 and Elaina Rager adding 10.
Aquin 43, Polo 41: The Marcos led 33-25 heading into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold off a surge by the visiting Bulldogs.
Lindee Poper scored eight baskets and finished with 19 points for Polo, while Nicole Boelens and Natalie Nelson scored six points apiece, with Boelens hitting a pair of 3-pointers. The Marcos led 13-10 after one quarter, and the game was tied 19-19 at halftime.
Rochelle 56, Eastland 53: The Cougars lost in a tight game in their season opener at the Forreston tournament despite a double-double by Quinc Haverland.
Haverland had 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Addison Burkholder added 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Annika Myre had 10 points and three assists, and Chloe Sweitzer finished with seven points and four steals.
Alivia Henkel scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Hubs.
Oregon 3,011, Erie-Prophetstown 2,331: The Hawks rolled past the Panthers at Town & Country Lanes in Mount Morris.
Codey Dunbar opened his 561 series with a 227 game for Oregon, and Stylar Klapp and Brady Davis both bowled 519 series; Davis opened with a 214 game. Roberto Hernandez and Bryan Immel both rolled 499 series, and Gavvin Surmo added a 414 series.
Michael Miner led Erie-Prophetstown with a 537 series, Shawn Chandler had a 443 series, and Bryce Van DeWostine added a 433 series. Keith Goodson (403), Dom Bray (263) and Robert Winters (252) also bowled for the Panthers.