Lady Eagles spike the competition through September

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IV Leader photo

IVCC’s Lisa Lukkari sets up Hailee Brayton (14) for a spike against Joliet Junior College at the IVCC Invitational on Sept. 15. The Lady Eagles eventually won this game and placed second in the tournament, losing to Harper College in the final

Josh Dillon, IV Leader Sports Editor

It’s easy to tell how much pride that IVCC women’s volleyball coach Julie Sherbeyn has in her team this season, as they have fought hard throughout September to an 8-5 record overall.
“It’s really cool to watch how these players share the court. We have 13 players on our squad, and it’s hard to get 13 players enough playing time. It doesn’t matter who’s in the game, they do their job.”
Sherbeyn’s excitement for the season is mirrored in the  players as well. Sophomore Jessica Jacobson said, “We encourage each other and go together during a win or loss. We fit exceptionally well together. Someone’s weakness seems to be picked up by another’s strength. I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Highland Community College came to Oglesby and played a very tough game, beating IVCC in the first set 24-26. The Lady Eagles fought back, winning the next two 25-23 and 25-21. Highland took set four 21-25, but IVCC came out on top 15-13 in the final set to win the match.
Taylor Gunia led the team with 11 points and 21 digs, Hailee Brayton had 5 aces, and Lisa Lukkari led the team in assists with 20.
But, a road game to Dixon to visit Sauk Valley on Sept. 12 was uncharacteristic as the Skyhawks trampled the Eagles in three sets: 13-25; 20-25; 22-25. Johnna Schultz led the Eagles with six points and two aces, Sarah Lushina had nine kills.
In reference to that game, Sherbeyn said, “We started flat against Sauk and never really were able to get the momentum flowing. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to pounce when the Skyhawks come here [on Oct. 9].”
An important measuring stick for the Lady Eagles came after IVCC hosted a tournament on Sept. 15. They beat Joliet Junior College 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 led by Brayton’s 10 points. To advance to the finals, IVCC beat Elgin 25-11, 25-17, 25-14 due in large part to Lukkari’s 16 points and 14 assists.
However, first place eluded the team as Harper College defeated IVCC 25-20, 22-25, 19-25, 11-25 despite 27 digs from Gunia and 22 assists by Schultz.
The overall tournament experience was positive for the Lady Eagles, with Sherbeyn saying, “Harper College has a huge, beautiful facility in a very volleyball dense area, and we fought them very competitively. We saw them earlier in the year at the College of DuPage tournament, and I’m proud of our girls to give them a very tough matchup.”
Riding the momentum from the tournament, IVCC travelled to Black Hawk East and beat the Braves 25-21; 25-8; 22-25; 25-11. Crystalynn Washkowiak and Kelsey Ott led the way with 11 points each, while Kayla MacDavitt added 10.
Returning home after the win, the Lady Eagles traveled to Carl Sandburg on Sept. 19 and won 23-25; 25-18; 25-21; 25-18. Washkowiak had a stellar all-around game, with 18 points, 5 aces, and 14 digs.
Sherbeyn said, “Carl Sandburg’s gym has a very strong home-field advantage and it’s tough to win there.  It was really good that we fought through that and came out with a victory.”
She praised the athletic department and the parents of athletes supporting the volleyball team at home, saying, “We’ve been having a great turn-out at home games. The athletes have done a good job showing up, and they’re very vocal and prominent when they’re here. It’s fun to have a full gym.”
As of press time, IVCC holds an overall 8-5 record with a 3-2 record in the Arrowhead Conference.
Upcoming games include five consecutive road games before returning home on Oct. 9 vs.. Sauk Valley.

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