Ali Lund lifts Lemont over Lincoln-Way West

SHARE Ali Lund lifts Lemont over Lincoln-Way West
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Ali Lund was feeling a little sadness Monday.

The Lemont senior is in her final days as an Indian after three years on varsity.

“Last week as a senior [in the regular season] … yeah,” she said. “Then playoffs start. It’ll be weird not playing [for Lemont]. It’s hard.”

There was nothing sentimental in how Lund played during Lemont’s 27-25, 25-18 win over host Lincoln-Way West.

The 5-8 outside hitter was cunning and clever in slicing a crosscourt spike for a kill to break the final tie in Game 1. In Game 2, she ripped three kills during a critical run that allowed the Indians to erase what was a five-point deficit to take the lead for good.

Lund finished with five kills in a balanced effort by Lemont (19-15) aided by Jessica Mathias (7 kills), Olivia Whittingham (5 kills), Ariana Ziogas (4 kills), Haley Sullivan (15 digs), Natalie Schwem (12 assists) and Shae Millinowisch (13 assists).

Lincoln-Way West (14-19) was led by Rachel Johnson (7 kills, 9 digs), Olivia DeGroot (4 kills, 10 digs), Jackie Moore (4 kills), Katie Davis (5 kills, 7 digs, 14 assists) and Meredith Buldak (13 digs).

For Lemont, it was an up in a season of ups and downs.

“We just have to keep our heads in the game,” Sullivan said. “We need to keep encouraging each other. If we work hard we can win matches.”

The Indians showed resilience when it counted.

A back-and-forth Game 1 appeared to be tipping West’s way after a misdirection tip by Davis and a block by Johnson put the Warriors in the driver’s seat at 24-21.

Back-to-back unforced errors by West opened the door. An overpass allowed Ziogas to blast a spike straight to the floor to tie it at 24. West got the advantage back on a combo block by Davis and Courtney O’Donnell, but in rapid-fire order Jessica Mathias (kill), Lund (kill) and Ziogas (block) ripped the game away for Lemont.

“They were winning by a lot — we just wanted to get the momentum back,” Lund said. “When we get the momentum back, we just start going.”

Lund’s three kills in Game 2 were part of a 7-0 Lemont run that took the steam out of an early burst by West that produced a 12-7 lead.

The Warriors stayed within two points until late, when Hanah Olson, Ziogas and Whittingham struck decisive blows for Lemont.

West was playing without two starters, right-side hitter Michelle Allen (out for the season with an illness) and outside hitter Kerrigan Fritz (flu symptoms).

On the plus side, DeGroot stepped into Fritz’s front-row rotation and proved to be effective.

“It was really cool being able to hit in the front row, even though it stinks that Kerrigan was sick,” DeGroot said. “Our problem lately has been getting to game point and we don’t finish. We’ve got to work on our mental game.”

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