Lady Warriors win three-set battle with Hamilton County to take Regional title

The Lady Warriors defeated Mt. Vernon and Hamilton County to win their Regional, and will play again at the SIJHSAA State Finals on March 24 in Pinckneyville. (Doug Daniels Photo)

By Doug Daniels

1351sports.com / duquoinsports.com

March 16, 2018

  (Benton, Ill.) - The Lady Warriors won a three-set battle with Hamilton County on Thursday night at Benton to bring a Regional championship trophy back to Du Quoin and earn a spot in the March 24 SIJHSAA Class L State Finals.
Du Quoin trailed 7-1 in the first set before battling all the way back to take it 25-20. They trailed 9-1 in the second before again staging a comeback, but couldn't get it done in two and fell 28-26 to force a third. There, the Lady Warriors jumped to an early lead and finished off the Foxes 15-9.
  "We're not used to being behind," said DMS head coach Isaac Miller. "Just being able to handle the pressure. A lot of the credit goes to Hamilton County, they didn't want to lose. They didn't have as much fire-power as we did, but their defense as great, they kept getting digs on our hits. We just try to be unpredictable, come with a tip, come with a hard hit, deep hits, short hits, and we were able to pull it out."
  In the semifinal match earlier in the evening, Du Quoin defeated Mt. Vernon 25-9, 25-9. For the two matches, Ayanna Dunklin led the Lady Warriors with 21 kills and 3 blocks, adding 10 digs and 6 service aces.
  "(A. Dunklin) is a good server, good serve receiver, good hitter, she's just an all-around good athlete," Miller said. "We tried to get her out in that second game kind of to rest her, hoping that would help us out in the third, because in the third she didn't leave the floor."
  Lauren Heape led digs with 19, followed by Lexi Cobin with 16 and Olivia James with 13. Sophie Miller led aces with 7 and assists with 21. Heape and Loveleen Dunklin each had 5 kills. Brenna Provart, Maddie Decker, Stella Ingram, Avrey McClanahan, Addi Darnell and Emily Smith also saw playing time for the Lady Warriors.
  DMS (25-5) will meet the winner of the West Frankfort Regional in the State Quarterfinals on March 24 at 11:00 a.m. at Pinckneyville High School.

(Photos by Doug Daniels / DuQuoinSports.com)

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