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Volleyball

Burlington Central volleyball falls short in sectional final

Burlington Central reacts Thursday after losing game one of Thursday's Class 3A Burlington Central Sectional semifinal against Marian Central. Marian Central defeated Central, 2-1.
Burlington Central reacts Thursday after losing game one of Thursday's Class 3A Burlington Central Sectional semifinal against Marian Central. Marian Central defeated Central, 2-1.

BURLINGTON – The Burlington Central girls volleyball team had all the momentum on its side Thursday against Marian Central in an IHSA Class 3A sectional final.

The Rockets recovered after dropping the opening game with a win in Game 2, thanks in part to the Hurricanes’ 15 unforced errors, to force a decisive third game. Central quickly fell behind in Game 3, though, and couldn’t pull off a comeback in a 25-21, 18-25, 25-15 loss to Marian on its home court in the sectional final.

“You’re down and you expend so much energy just
to catch up that once they hit us in that third game, we didn’t respond,” Rockets coach Marv Leavitt said. “We tried, but it was hard. We had lost some of our momentum.”

The Rockets (27-12) briefly led midway through Game 1, but the Hurricanes (23-16) recovered to put them away. An impressive effort in Game 2 from senior middle blocker Makenna Jensen and senior outside hitter Jenna Schudel, both of whom finished with a team-best nine kills, kept the host Rockets’ season alive.

Central opened the game with a 9-2 lead, though the Hurricanes whittled it to 15-14, forcing a Rockets timeout. But the Rockets didn’t back down and closed the Game 2 win on a 10-4 run.

“I feel like we realized, OK this isn’t just going to be given to us and we have to play, it’s not going to be easy,” Jensen said. “We had to pull through it.”

However, Central struggled to keep pace with Marian in Game 3. The Hurricanes’ improved blocking limited the Rockets’ clean looks at the net, and too many errors, including a service error to seal the match win for Marian, doomed Central.

“There is absolutely no quit in my team and they were going to fight until the last point,” Leavitt said. “We’re extremely proud of them.”

Marian advances to Saturday’s Antioch Supersectional against Chicago Payton.

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