PORT BYRON, Ill. — Refusing to give up, Prophetstown pulled off an improbable comeback to win the first set, then the Prophets used a long serving run by senior Katlyn Shirley in the second set to mentally break Bureau Valley and complete a sweep of the top seed Tuesday at the Illinois Class 2A Riverdale Regional volleyball tournament.
“It just gives me goose bumps,” Prophetstown senior Karlie Stafford said after the 29-27, 25-12 victory in the first semifinal matchup. “We were not expected to go this far.”
The Prophets (12-19) entered as the lowest seed of the five teams in the field. But they followed up a win over fourth-seeded Morrison on Monday by knocking off the top seeds a day later to earn a spot in the championship match. They will face Three Rivers Conference rival Fulton, the No. 3 seed, at 7 p.m. Thursday for the title and the right to advance to next week’s Farmington Sectional.
“We knew we could do it,” sophomore Claire Milnes said.
Bureau Valley appeared in control for most of the first set. The Storm scored the first two points and maintained the edge for most of the game, eventually building a 20-14 lead when Sydney Lebahn fed Valerie Reuter for a kill.
But, the Prophets refused to fold.
“I was so proud of how the team did not give up,” Shirley said.
“We’ve talked all season about getting one point at a time and weathering the storm, that every point might matter at the end,” Prophetstown coach Arthur Wyckoff said.
Kills by Stafford and Clare Kramer on each side of a Storm hitting error cut the gap to 20-17. A bad set gave the serve back to the Storm, but they gave it right back with a hitting error. Prophetstown then reeled off two more points, getting a free-ball kill by Milnes and a kill by Kramer to pull within 21-20.