Back-to-Back! Sandburg Volleyball Repeats as Region IV Champ, Returns to NJCAA Tourney

  Aaron Frey
  Sunday, November 4, 2018 7:38 PM
  Campus News, Athletics

Grayslake, IL

The Chargers are going back to Charleston.

The Carl Sandburg College volleyball team punched its ticket to the NJCAA Division II Championship for the second straight year by sweeping Sauk Valley 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 on Sunday to successfully defend its Region IV District A tournament title. The Chargers (26-17), who swept all three of their matches in the tournament, will return to nationals Nov. 15-17 in Charleston, W.Va.

The top-seeded Chargers, who clinched their first Arrowhead Conference championship since 1990 during the regular season, beat the No. 3 seed Skyhawks (20-20) for the third time this year and improved to 19-0 against Region IV opponents.

“This group of sophomores had their sights set on this since we left the national tournament last season,” Chargers coach Todd Winkler said. “They wanted it so bad, and they worked their tails off to make it happen. They’ve been pushing everyone to get there again, and to do it twice in a row is really special.”

Leading the way for Sandburg in the championship match was sophomore outside hitter Hannah Thompson (West Prairie), who had a team-leading 13 kills, made seven digs and served a match-best six aces.

Middle hitter Peyton Bowman (West Prairie), who was named to the all-tournament team, had nine kills, and Haley Stevenson (Galesburg), also an all-tournament selection, had 17 digs and three of the Chargers’ 10 aces. Setter Cora Vyhnanek (West Prairie) had 30 assists and seven digs for Sandburg, which didn’t trail Sauk Valley until the third set.

“We played them twice before this season, and both matches were a lot tighter,” Winkler said. “Our girls just took it to another level today. We were picking up balls all over the place and made great hustle plays. Everybody contributed, and today was the way we’ve been capable of playing all year.”

The Chargers took the match’s first five points and closed the opening set with a six-point run that featured three Thompson aces.

Sandburg grabbed an early 9-3 lead in the second set, but the Skyhawks were able to get within 17-15. Then Vyhnanek found sophomore Josalyn Owens (Lincoln) for consecutive kills before Stevenson hammered back-to-back aces to give the Chargers some breathing room for the rest of the set.

The Chargers held a 14-13 edge in the third before a Bowman kill started a five-point run. Owens put down two straight kills once again, and Thompson followed with aces on consecutive serves to give Sandburg a 19-13 advantage. A double hit by the Skyhawks on match point sent the Chargers into a dogpile.

The Chargers advanced to the championship match with a 25-20, 25-13, 25-19 sweep of Illinois Valley in Sunday morning’s semifinals. Thompson led the Chargers with 16 kills, 10 digs and an ace. The Chargers also got 12 kills from Bowman, and three others joined Thompson with double-digit digs. Owens and Stevenson each picked up 19 digs, and Vyhnanek had 11 digs to go along with 37 assists.

“We’ve never come here as the favorite before, so it’s a bit of a relief to finally have this finished,” Winkler said. “It’s been a special season, it’s a special group of girls. It feels pretty great to be able to continue it for a little longer.”

At College of Lake County, Grayslake
Saturday’s matches
1: Oakton (B2) def. Highland (A7) 3-0
2: Sauk Valley (A3) def. Morton (B6) 3-0
3: Illinois Valley (A5) def. Bryant & Stratton (B4) 3-1
4: Sandburg (A1) def. Triton (B8), 3-0
Sunday’s matches
9: Sandburg def. Illinois Valley 3-0
10: Sauk Valley def. Oakton vs. Sauk Valley 3-1
Sandburg def. Sauk Valley 3-0 

 Volleyball Region 4 trophy

Members of the Carl Sandburg College volleyball team pose with the Region IV District A tournament trophy after their win over Sauk Valley on Sunday afternoon in the championship match on the campus of the College of Lake County in Grayslake. Front row (l-r): Jordan Price, Kylie Stineman, Haley Stevenson, Josalyn Owens and Hannah Thompson. Back row (l-r): Assistant coach Sara Baker, assistant coach Rachel Secrist, Cora Vyhnanek, Tearaney Eads, Erin Flairty, Emily Bloomer, Sydney Boyd, Peyton Bowman, Julia Vosburgh and head coach Todd Winkler. 

Like Carl Sandburg College Athletics on Facebook
Follow @SandburgNJCAA on Twitter

Press Contact

Aaron Frey