On Thursday night, the stands at Jacobs High School were filled with eager, cheering fans from Cary-Grove and Huntley as both teams were playing in the championship game of the Jacobs Regional, battling for a spot in the Hampshire Sectional.
Huntley, who went 24-14 on their season, had dominated on the court two nights before, winning both games against Jacobs and advancing to the championship game.
Unfortunately for Huntley, their efforts this time around were not enough. They lost both games despite holding a one point lead the entire first game, until Cary-Grove tied it up 25-25. This meant that whichever team was up by two points would win that game.
Cary-Grove did exactly that, taking advantage of Huntley’s errors to take a 28-26 win, putting them a step closer to winning the regional.
Effort and passion was not cut short on either team’s end. Diving digs and smart, strategic thinking kept this game tight throughout.
An ace by junior Alyson Dion, perfectly placed on Cary-Grove’s line, and one handed digs to keep the ball in play from senior Erin Erb proved that Huntley wanted it bad.
It was seen in the faces and movements from every girl on the team; this postseason wasn’t like any other.
“Unfortunately for our seniors they don’t get another chance,” said head coach Karen Naymola.
However, the second game was much different for this exhausted team. Huntley was down from the start after multiple aces from Cary-Grove whizzed past the Raiders and the scoreboard adjusted in favor of the Trojans.
“It was a hard loss game one, and I think it affected us mentally too,” said Naymola.
The Raiders missed many chances, as good blocks deflected out on their side of the court, resulting in a strong 20-9 lead for Cary-Grove.
With Huntley being down by that many points, the Cary-Grove Trojans ended up beating Huntley 25-14, and advancing to sectionals.
“I feel like we stepped up a lot throughout the season, after playing a little bit lower midway through we really dug ourselves out of it,“ said junior Kristy Swanson, who came out of the night’s loss with 11 assists.
With this loss for Huntley comes a lot emotion, not only from losing but also for the seniors, Sydney Holt, Amanda Schofield, Brea Jereb, Jade Hoffmann, and Erin Erb, who played their last games as Red Raiders.