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Royals volleyball can’t hold lead, struggle with serve

AURORA – Three times Tuesday night the Rosary volleyball team served protecting a one-point lead against Waubonsie Valley in an IHSA Class 4A regional semifinal.

Three times, the Royals served the ball in the net.

The host Warriors (20-16) took advantage of those mistakes to pull out a 25-23 victory in the second set, giving them a 2-0 sweep that advanced them to the regional final against West Aurora.

“There’s not much you can really do about that,” Rosary coach Rachel Hartmann said about the service errors. “I told the girls to serve it in and easy. I don’t know if it’s nerves or some of them not being here. It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. I thought they still stayed with it pretty well, even though we were handing them points.”

Waubonsie Valley coach Kristen Stuart agreed that the team that made the fewer errors came out on top.

“They missed three serves right there at the end and that’s tough,” Stuart said. “That shifted the momentum back to us. I think we did a good job of limiting our errors in the second game.”

Rosary senior middle hitter Marissa Prochaska disagreed somewhat with the notion the Royals (23-13) gave away the match toward the end.

“We could have definitely gotten those [serves] in and just played it out,” she said. “But we were trying to go for the winning point, obviously.”

It was a valid point, since the Royals had five aces in the match from a variety of players, including a pair from Kate Stefanski.

Prochaska and Briana Flagg each had eight kills to lead the Rosary attack. Adrienne Winkel added three.

“I thought Adrienne came in and provided a little spark,” Hartmann said. “Our outsides weren’t scoring as much as we’d like them to and she did a great job. … Marissa did phenomenal, our middle. Every time we set her, I think she got a kill, or at least threw them off a little bit.”

Lauren Lindell and Rachel Minarick each had nine kills for Waubonsie Valley.

Lindell came up with a couple of big kills late in the first set after Rosary had reduced a six-point deficit to one at 21-20. Minarick then finished the Royals off with a kill down the middle for a 25-22 Warrior win.

“We went out there and we tried our best,” Prochaska said. “We scouted, we did everything we could, but it just, I guess, wasn’t good enough today.”

The Royals were bumped up to Class 4A for the first time this year after previously being a 3A program.

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