NEW CHICAGO | The site may have been at River Forest, but IHSAA Sectional 33 clearly and officially goes through Wheeler.
The Bearcats didn't lose a set in the tournament and defeated Greater South Shore Conference foe Whiting 25-18, 25-17, 25-19 Saturday for their fifth straight sectional in the Class 2A River Forest Sectional.
"I was a nervous wreck all day," Wheeler coach Alisha Polite said. "We faced two strong teams and all 14 saw sectional action, so now I know I can use different players going forward."
Wheeler (31-5) opened up by scoring seven of the first 10, forcing Whiting to take a timeout early and after the brief intermission, Whiting stormed back with three of the next five.
At 13-8, the Bearcats went on a run of five straight to distance themselves a little and after another Whiting timeout, the Oilers (23-8) cut it to five at 22-17, which included four big kills from Kaylyn Anderson in the run.
Freshman setter Belle Bravo was on the receiving end of one of those and subsequently, a stern talk from Polite.
"That's how coach motivates me and I knew what needed to be done," said Bravo, who had 19 assists. "The first set is where I get a feel for the speed and tempo and if I screw up, my teammates also motivate me a lot."
Bravo responded with a kill and along with a Doyle kill and an unforced error, Whiting's momentum was halted.
At 11-6 in the second set, the champs scored six of eight thanks to four kills from Doyle and Jordynn Parks.
After battling to a 4-4 tie in the third set, Doyle and Co. scored five straight courtesy of an ace and two kills by Doyle, who had 17 kills, in the back row, forcing Whiting to use a timeout.
The Oilers fought back yet again and cut their deficit to 22-18, but a couple of unforced errors and a Haley Plothow ace sealed the title for the Bearcats.
Bearcats senior Haley Plothow, who missed Thursday's win over Lake Station due to illness, said the team is still hungry, even though they're on a roll.
"I definitely played better in the morning (in a win over Noll) because I was lagging later on and when I'm not playing well, my teammates do a good job of picking me up," she said.
"It's a great feeling winning sectionals, but we aren't tired of the season yet. We want to get further than we did last year."