FARMINGTON, Ill. — Rachael Beiermann wouldn’t mind it at all if the Fieldcrest volleyball team and its fans take one look at Fulton’s sub-.500 record and dismiss the Steamers as a serious super-sectional contender.
The Steamers enjoy the role of underdog, and they’ve become pretty good proving it.
“We definitely hope that,” Beiermann, a senior setter-hitter for the Steamers, said. “We like being the underdogs going into it because people don’t expect us, then when we pull it off we’re really proud of ourselves and it’s more motivation every time.”
Fulton continued its postseason run Thursday with a 25-19, 25-13 win against Abingdon-Avon to capture the Illinois Class 2A Farmington Sectional title. Now an Elite Eight team in the state, the Steamers (15-17-3) will take on Fieldcrest (32-4-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Manlius, Ill., for the Bureau Valley Super-Sectional championship. The winner will head to Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill., for the state semifinals at 1:30 p.m. next Friday.
“It was a goal of ours to get to it, but in the beginning of the season the way it was going, we never would have thought we would have made it this far,” Beiermann said, referring to a stretch in which the Steamers lost seven matches in a row and were 10 wins under the .500 mark. “Later, as the season went on, we could just see ourselves going farther, and now we have full confidence that we can go all the way. It’s going to be a long, hard, difficult ride, though.”
The Steamers wasted no time showing Abingdon-Avon that their record means nothing to them.
The Tornadoes (21-11) scored the first point of the match on a kill by Taylor Cudd, who led the team’s all-senior starting lineup with four kills. They lost serve on a violation for the next point, though, and didn’t get it back until Beiermann had staked the Steamers to an 8-1 lead at the service line.