LANSING | The celebration Tuesday night was a mixed one.
The T.F. South girls volleyball team beat rival T.F. North and clinched a tie with Lemont for the South Suburban Blue Conference title, and there was reason to celebrate. The Rebels finished the regular season 26-4.
There was also some sadness as it is the last time this team will play a home match.
The Rebels might have been somewhat subdued because they are moving on and there are some bigger fish out there to catch.
The Rebels and every other team opens regional play next week and South is in the Class 4A Andrew Regional. That regional is part of the Sandburg sectional, which may be the toughest one in the state.
The Rebels are seeded sixth and could meet No. 3 seed Sandburg in the championship on Halloween.
Rebels coach Kim Sands said the postseason will be a challenge, but her team can live up to it. T.F. South won 18 in a row at one point in the regular season.
"If we show up to each match and play like we are capable of, we can be up to the challenge," she said. "We are a good team, but we cannot look past anyone because there are just too many good teams in our sectional."
Sands' seniors have been on the varsity since they were sophomores, and they expected to have a great year. They know it can be over in one match, so they have to bring their "A" game every night in the postseason. It is not a matter of having to step up their game but just do what they have done all year -- play unselfish and together.
Junior Briana Lilly said she is pumped just thinking about the tournament.
"I can feel the adrenaline in my veins right now," she said. "It is going to be a tough regional, but we are looking forward to the challenge.
Libero Ashtyn Kapovich, a three-year starter, said they look forward to the competition.
"It will be tough," she said after Tuesday's match. "We have to be ready and play well."
Kapovich touched on something that is an intangible.
"We all get along and we are used to playing together," she said.
Kapovich also exemplifies why this team is successful and is not the only reason -- there is a whole team of reasons for the Rebels' success. The libero is the one who makes everything go.
"I love playing libero," Kapovich said. "I have been doing it for years, it is my favorite position. It helps when you are surrounded by a lot of great players."
In a sectional with Mother McAuley, Marist, Sandburg, Lincoln-Way North, T.F. South and a much-improved Marian Catholic team, the shame is several teams that might win a weaker sectional will be left out.
It should be an interesting week.