DIXON – Most people watching the Black Hawk East at Sauk Valley Community College volleyball match on Wednesday were hunkered down for a fifth set.
Somebody forgot to tell the Skyhawks that news.
Sauk Valley rallied from a late seven-point deficit to win the fourth set and finish off a 23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 26-24 victory.
"We did a nice job of staying focused and staying with it," SVCC coach Jay Howell said. "Black Hawk's a scrappy team, and you've really got to battle all night against them."
The Skyhawks (11-10, 3-3 Arrowhead Conference) trailed 17-10 in the fourth set before their offense kicked into high gear. Three straight kills by Kristyn Kasner and two by Kayla Kurz got Sauk Valley back into it, and the Skyhawks finally caught the Warriors at 21-21 on a kill from Kalli Scheppers.
The teams traded points until the score was 23-23, when Black Hawk East let a ball drop among a host of players to put SVCC on the brink of victory.
That came on the next point, when the Warriors' Shelby Rickelman was long on a kill attempt, sealing the Sauk Valley victory.
"You've got to give Sauk a lot of credit," Black Hawk East coach Bob Grabbe said. "We had the lead, we were kind of in control, and we couldn't get a decent enough pass to run our offense and get a good swing. They were able to make some good passes and get good swings. They did a nice job of not playing timidly when they were down and their backs were against the wall."
Sauk Valley rode the powerful inside-outside combination of Kasner and Scheppers to the victory. Kasner was a force in the middle with 15 kills and two kill blocks, while Scheppers slammed down 23 kills, most of them hitting the floor without much resistance.
"I definitely feel like I need to do that for my team," Scheppers said. "I like that they can always count on me to put the ball down."
"We established the middle attack tonight," Howell said, "so they had to honor that. That left a nice seam for Kalli out there. All of our middles, they do a nice job of holding the other blocker. Whether you set it there or not, you've got to honor that. It's pretty tough for them to get out and double-block Kalli."
Karly Koch ran the offense effectively with 48 assists, along with eight digs. Morgan Mammosser finished with 16 digs, and Kurz added seven kills.
For Black Hawk East (12-7, 2-4), Marcella Oliveria finished with 15 kills and 12 digs, Shannon Sellers had 11 kills and 11 digs, and Dominique Miller added 25 assists.
Star of the match: Kalli Scheppers, Sauk Valley 23 kills, 9 digs
Key performers: Kristyn Kasner, Sauk Valley, 15 kills, 2 kill blocks; Marcella Oliviera, Black Hawk East, 15 kills, 11 digs
Up next: Sauk Valley at Carl Sandburg, 6 p.m. Tuesday