CHESTERTON | After three years of disappointing sectional finishes, Sofija Cucuz was happy to raise her arms in victory after Crown Point dispatched Hobart on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs, who haven't won a sectional game in the last three years, came out strong against the Brickies with a 25-13, 25-13, 25-16 victory.
Crown Point will face LaPorte on Saturday morning after the Slicers knocked off Merrillville 25-8, 25-11, 25-15.
"This feels really good to be able to get a victory in the postseason," Cucuz said. "It just feels like a big weight off our shoulders."
Crown Point finished in third place in the Duneland Athletic Conference this season, losing twice to both LaPorte and Valparaiso. If the Bulldogs can get past the five-time defending sectional champion Slicers on Saturday, then Crown Point would likely face the Vikings for the sectional title.
"The difference about the postseason is that teams are nervous," Crown Point coach Allison Duncan said. "It doesn't matter how good you are or how many times you've been here, these are high school kids, and they'll make nervous mistakes."
Cucuz, who will play next season at Rutgers, led the Bulldogs (25-9) with 12 kills, while classmate Zarah Cecich added 28 assists and two aces.
"I'm just worrying about our high school team right now, and I'll worry about (next year) when the season is over," Cucuz said. "We need to work hard over the next four days and come ready to play on Saturday."
The state-ranked No. 4 Slicers (30-4) had little trouble with the Pirates (6-23) in the nightcap as Taylor Lebo had 12 kills and 13 digs, while Kim Trojan added 11 kills. Looking ahead to Saturday, LaPorte coach MaryBeth Lebo isn't worried about her team taking anything for granted.
"I don't feel that this team gets too nervous," Lebo said. "I think we get nervous when we go down to Muncie. If you don't play under pressure all year, then this sectional can get very interesting."