SOUTH BELOIT -- Thursday's girls volleyball sectional championship match was almost anticlimactic for IC Catholic Prep.
In Tuesday's semifinal the Knights came from 8 points down in the third game to knock off previously undefeated Dakota. Thursday, they nailed down the sectional title with a relatively mundane 25-17, 25-17 defeat of Oregon.
IC trailed early in both games but put together a big scoring run in the middle of each game to take control and walk away with the title in the Class 2A South Beloit sectional.
IC will face Morgan Park Academy in the Lisle supersectional at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Delaney D'Amore led the way with 13 kills. Rory Manion had 6 kills and helped the Knights (33-6) wrap things up late, with 4 kills in the latter stages of Game 2, including the Knights' last 3 kills.
After Tuesday night's drama, the Knights knew they couldn't afford a letdown.
"One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to get to state," said IC coach Jean Field. "They knew they had to get past Dakota, and that was a huge game for them, but they also knew that they couldn't have a letdown against Oregon, that they were going to have to come out and play, and that Oregon was going to give them everything they had. So we had to play a good game. We couldn't take it easy against them."
"We definitely had worries," said Manion, one of three senior co-captains who anchored the Knights. "We were all still nervous going into this game. We just had to stay positive and keep up the energy."
Mannion, D'Amore, and setter Kimmy Martino helped keep the Knights going after the Hawks came out strong.
Oregon led 8-6 in game 1 before an 11-3 run put IC ahead for good. The Knights got six straight points with Manion at the service stripe, a run that included a pair of aces.
IC was content to trade points after that, with a service ace by Claudia Koch eventually finishing off the game.
"We have big hearts for the game," Manion said. "We had to keep up the energy at all times and never let down."
The teams followed a similar script in Game 2. Oregon led 9-7, but IC turned it around with a 9-2 run. Another big service run by Manion was a key component.