The Highland High School volleyball team swept Waterloo in straight sets, 25-11, 26-24, in the semifinal of the IHSA Class 3A Mascoutah Regional on Tueday night at Mascoutah High School.
Highland, which entered the regional as the fifth seed, toppled No. 4 Waterloo for the second time in eight days to advance to Thursday’s regional championship match where the Lady Bulldogs will face top-seeded Mascoutah (29-7). The Indians downed Triad 25-13, 25-20 and is fresh off sweeping the Misssissipi Valley Conference for the second year in a row.
The regional title game is set for 6 p.m.
With the victory over Waterloo, Highland improved to 24-11 and tied last year’s team for the second highest number of wins in a single season. Only the team from four years ago has more victories with 28.
Against Waterloo, HHS raced out to a 9-0 due in large part to junior Madison Wellen’s serving and senior Hayley McSparin’s attacking. Wellen connected for two aces in the rally while McSparin unleashed three kills and one block in the spurt.
Waterloo, which finished the season with a 16-12 record, had trouble finding any rhythm to its game out of the gate and was riddled with mistakes, as evidenced by Highland scoring almost half of its points in the first set on Waterloo service errors and net violations.
Waterloo bounced back to play a cleaner game in the second set, even holding the lead on several occasions. But Waterloo could not hold off the relentless Highland which persevered for the 26-24 match-clinching triumph.
McSparin finished with a match-best 10 kills while Wellen wound up with six kills, three aces and two blocks. Also for Highland, junior Alex LaPorta chipped in six kills and junior Megan Frey had three aces.
For Waterloo, junior Sam Kruse had six kills to lead the way, while Kathryn Finnerty added five kills and sophomore Grace Amann and senior Hannah Innis had three kills apiece.
On Monday, Highland rolled over Cahokia, 25-3, 25-13, in the regional quarterfinal.
McSparin again powered the offense with a match-high 10 kills (on 13 attacks) to go with two blocks, six service points, one ace and two digs, but just as important as her attacking was the serving of Cassie Lamzik. Lamzik had long service runs en route to chalking up 20 service points and four aces. both of which easily ranked first in the match. She also added two digs.
Leading other statistical categories for the Lady Bulldogs were LaPorta with 10 digs and senior Sami Beyer with 14 assists. LaPorta also added three kills.
Also for Highland, Wellen (four digs) and junior Sarah Beth Wiegman (five digs) each added four kills; Frey had six assists, eight service points, two aces and one dig; senior Alyssa Anderson added two kills; freshman Emmy Nyquist had three digs; and freshman Claire Diercks had one kill.