FULTON, Ill. – In fitting fashion, a thunderous kill from senior Emily Schipper finished off the Senior Night match on Thursday night in Fulton, and the Steamers came away with a dominant 2-0 victory over Sherrard.
Fulton downed Sherrard 25-12, 25-12 to cap off their regular season.
With a team-high 11 kills on the night, Schipper knew as soon as she went up for it that it would fall on the Tigers’ side of the court.
“It felt amazing, absolutely amazing,” Schipper said. “I really felt that one.”
In what could only be described as a chaotic atmosphere complete with pep band, rowdy student section and excited parents, the seniors took a bow. The entire team came out with confidence and rolled through the Tigers on their way to a win.
That atmosphere, which started from when the gym was flooded with cheers for the Senior Night introductions and didn’t end until the final point, was quite the way to send out the seniors.
“That helped us a lot, too,” Schipper said. “This was the best thing I’ve ever had.”
Starting off the first set, the Steamers found a 7-0 run behind the serves of Ally Curley to jump out to a 16-7 lead before the Tigers could put one away. That included two blocks, one from Maddie Hodge and one from Megan Bailey.
They closed out the rest of the set 9-5, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The Steamers had no issues hitting around a pretty lengthy Sherrard block, and the combination of serves and attacks Fulton was sending over the net was throwing the Tigers out of system almost every rally.
Plus, the Fulton block was causing problems. Even though they ended up with four blocks as a team, they were continually getting touches and forcing the Sherrard attack to switch things up.
That confidence rolled over into Set 2. This time the Steamers shot out to a 17-4 lead, looking confident as ever as the Tigers struggled to get offense set up.
Five aces came out of the day, including two from seniors Maddie Hodge and Ally Curley.
In addition to Schipper’s 11 kills, Megan Bailey put away four from the middle and Maddie Hodge added another three opposite of Schipper in the rotation. Bailey also had two blocks on the night.
Kylie Collachia, in addition to her 19 assists, led with 9 digs in the back row.
The Steamers said emotional goodbyes to a loaded senior class, including Emily Schipper, Kylee Sweenie, Ally Curley, Shleby Hodge, Kearston Norman, Emily Banker, Megan Bailey, and Maddie Hodge.
The team (23-7) now turns it’s attention to the postseason, which kicks off next week. In the Earlville regional, they’ve earned the No. 2 seed and will take on Kirkland (Hiawatha) next week to kick things off. Entering the postseason with a four-game winning streak has the Steamers feeling confident.
“We’re feeling great,” Schipper said. “We should win the first round. We need energy up the whole time, staying positive. That’s what we have to do.”