GODFREY – The Lewis and Clark Community College volleyball team earned a berth in the NJCAA Region 24 Final Four with a 3-1 win over Lincoln College Wednesday night at home in the George C. Terry River Bend Arena.
The No. 4 Trailblazers defeated the No. 5 Lynx 25-18, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22. The win gives the Trailblazers an overall record of 22-15.
“We knew this was going to be a tough match,” said Head Coach Jim Hunstein. “We split two matches with Lincoln this year and they’ve been playing very well lately. But we beat them earlier at home and found a way to do it again when it mattered most.”
Two freshmen outside hitters from Highland High School paved the way to victory.
Molly Stumpf, of Alhambra, Illinois, led the team with 15 kills, scoring six of them in the fourth set. She also earned the first kill in all four sets. Brooke Hustedde, of Trenton, Illinois, followed with nine kills and four blocks.
Freshman middle hitter Denae White, of New Athens, Illinois, had six kills and six blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Emma Chiodini, of St. Louis, also had six kills and four blocks.
Sophomore setters Lauren Chiarelli, of Collinsville, Illinois, and Kennedy Netters, of Dunlap, Illinois, along with sophomore libero Drew Myers, of Lesterville, Missouri all had a pair of aces each. Chiarelli and Myers also had a kill each.
“One of the keys to our success this year is a balanced attack,” Hunstein said. “As well as Molly and Brooke and the whole team played, we don’t have one or two hitters that an opponent can try to stop to beat us.”
The next opponent for the Trailblazers will be undefeated Parkland College (52-0), the number one seed in the region and the number one team in the country.
“Parkland will be a challenge,” Hunstein said. “We’ve lost to them twice this year—two of only six times we’ve been shut out this year. But the way we’re playing and with the spirit of this team, I like our chances.”
The Trailblazers will face the Cobras in the Region 24 Final Four this Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois.
No. 2 Lincoln Land (36-5) faces No. 3 Illinois Central College (21-19) at 4 pm.