KNOX | In Saturday night’s championship match of the Class 3A Knox Sectional, defending champion Andrean was looking for its 16th sectional title, while Hanover Central was searching for just its third title and first since 1999.
Andrean prevailed in dramatic fashion with a 25-11, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-10 victory to advance to Tuesday’s regional. Andrean will host Griffith at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats (29-5) battled the Niners (27-7) in the evenly-matched championship tilt and then some before the Niners ultimately prevailed.
Hanover had some momentum from the fourth set win, but Andrean jumped out to an 8-3 lead and held on against spirited Hanover for a 15-10 victory in the deciding set. Each side hustled and dove for every ball, and Andrean had just a little bit left in the final match to gain the title.
In the first set Andrean used an 8-0 run midway through the opening set that propelled it to a 25-11 victory. Hanover rallied to win the second set, scoring the last four points for a 25-22 win.
In a pivotal third set, Andrean again used an 8-0 run to take command. Trailing 15-13, Andrean got key kills from Lauren Stazinski in the run to go ahead 21-15. Hanover got to within 22-18, but kills by Lexy Wright and Stazinski helped Andrean get a 25-18 win.
Hanover rallied once again to force a fifth set, winning 25-20 with strong play up front from Alex Plavsa, Kristen Roper and Savanna Zakman to set up the thrilling finish.
Andrean advanced to the championship with a 25-22 25-22, 25-12 win over host Knox, while Hanover eliminated Calumet 25-13, 25-4, 25-12 in Saturday’s semifinals.