Whenever Steeleville junior Karley Kothe blasted a kill, the Steeleville student section fell to its collective seat like it had swept away by a tidal wave.
The students have plenty of opportunities to perfect their schtick as the Warriors defeated Valmeyer 18-25, 25-16 and 25-17 to win the Class 1A Centralia Sectional. The Warriors advance to the Raymond super-sectional Friday night.
The match turned midway through the second set. The Warriors lost the first set and coughed up a five-point lead in the second set when Valmeyer tied the score at 16.
Steeleville coach Lesley Wente called a timeout and asked her team to regroup.
There were two versions of what was said in the timeout.
“Basically, we were just told to get our heads out of our butts and let’s go,” Kothe said.
Wente had a slightly different take.
“I told them I wanted to get to 20 first,” she said. “I told them I just want to get ahead and set little goals. In the third game I kept yelling, ‘That’s not enough.’ We had to get to 25 to get it done.”
Whatever was said, it worked like a charm.
Steeleville came out of the timeout and ran off nine straight points to win the second set. And the Warriors were in control the entire third set.
“They have the confidence,” said Valmeyer coach Jenny Kohnz. “They’d beaten us twice this year. Kudos to them. They’re a good team, and they could have folded after we beat them in the first game.”
The victory marked the first sectional volleyball championship in Steeleville’s history. The Warriors, 22-13, play Payson at 7 p.m. Friday. Valmeyer’s season ended at 27-11.
Edwardsville defeated Pekin 25-22, 25-21 in the finals of the Class 4A Chatham Sectional on Wednesday.
The Tigers (32-5) advance to the Normal Super-Sectional, where they will face Minooka at 7 p.m. Friday.
Carlinville defeats Wesclin
Carlinville defeated Wesclin in straight sets, 25-21, 25-22, in the finals of the Class 2A Nashville Sectional. For Wesclin, champions of the Dupo regional, it was the first postseason match that didn’t go three sets.
Carlinville (23-13) advances to the Vandalia Super-Sectional on Friday, where it will face Newton. The Warriors’ season ends at 23-14.