Girls Volleyball: Sandburg tops Lincoln-Way Central
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 17, 2012 11:00PM
Dakota Hampton, of Sandburg, gets a kill against Lincoln-Way Central. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 19, 2012 3:41PM
Sandburg’s Dakota Hampton knows what it’s like to be a conference champion.
In her junior season, the Eagles shared the SouthWest Suburban Blue title with Lincoln-Way Central.
With the conference title on the line Wednesday night against visiting Central, the star outside hitter helped make sure Sandburg was the solo champ.
A huge Hampton service run, as well as the match-ending kill, proved to be the difference in Sandburg’s 25-20, 25-22 victory.
“We’ve been preparing for Central all week, and it was finally great to get out there,” Hampton said. “It was our last game (at home), and I glad we ended with a win. I’m not going to lie. I loved winning it both years.”
Hampton’s 10 kills and 11 digs led Sandburg (27-8, 7-0), with Paige Bendell (20 digs, 11 assists, 10 kills) and Sami Knight (14 assists) also contributing.
No. 2 Central (27-8, 5-2) was led by Maria Brown (8 kills, 13 digs, 2 blocks, 2 aces), Kaitlyn Siadek (20 assists, 5 digs) and Amanda Dolan (5 kills, 4 blocks).
“Sandburg’s defense was phenomenal. They were digging stuff that doesn’t normally get dug out,” Central coach Kathy Sulkowski said. “We came out flat, and they came out ready to play.”
Tied at 18 in the first set, Sandburg closed strong with Hampton’s five-point service run helping the Eagles pull away. Kelly Finlay had three kills and Leah Lane one, and Hampton added an ace during the run.
The Knights took command in the second set thanks to a balanced attack. The Knights went up 15-11 on a Jacqueline Langer kill and held the advantage thanks to three kills from Amanda Dolan.
A Catrina Cimaroli kill pushed Central’s lead to 22-19, but Hampton had one last surge. She slammed her eighth kill to set up her match-closing service run. A Meghan Hutchinson kill tied the set at 22, with a Central error giving Sandburg the lead.
“Sandburg did a nice job of stringing together points,” Sulkowski said. “When we started building momentum, that did a good job of killing it.”
Hampton closed in style, serving her second ace of the match. Her 10th and final kill deflected off a Central defender for the win.
“With Senior Night, we were really pumped up for this one,” Hampton said. “It was an awesome way to end the match and go out like that (with the service run).”
Central’s 27 wins are already a program-best, improving on last season’s 26. The Knights will begin the Class 4A playoffs Tuesday in Lincoln-Way North Regional. Central will play the winner of Monday’s quarterfinal between Lincoln-Way North and Washington.
“It’s a tough loss, but luckily, the season isn’t over,” Sulkowski said. “We will be ready Tuesday, and I know this team is ready to go. They just need to move on and focus right now.”