LOWELL | Morton coach Anna Boyle had no clichés to offer her team after its first postseason win since 2005.
Even if she had any, they'd have been drowned out by her celebrating players in the locker room.
"I couldn't even talk in there; they were so excited," Boyle said. "It was hard to talk, but I just told them they've got to be mentally ready because we've got a big one on Saturday."
The Governors dispatched of Highland 25-21, 9-25, 20-25, 25-16, 15-10 Thursday to earn a berth in Saturday's 11:30 a.m. semifinal against Munster in the Class 4A Lowell Sectional. The defending champion Mustangs swept West Side 25-1, 25-2, 25-5 in the night cap.
Junior Antonique Johnson, a second-year starter, called it one of the team's biggest wins ever.
"We started off with intensity and finished it at the end," said Johnson, who led Morton with 12 kills and 20 digs and five aces.
In the middle, the Governors were a tad overconfident and also befuddled by the serving of Highland sophomore Anna Jorsch. The Trojans swept the regular-season match at Morton.
Morton's serving, combined with an array of Highland mistakes, won out in a match full of wild shots and missed opportunities on both sides. Nesreen Srour had back-to-back aces in the decisive fifth game, putting her team up 13-9.
Freshman Amanda Colvin, converted from middle hitter to outside hitter just recently, had four of her eight kills in the fifth game after struggling with her aim
Johnson, fittingly, finished the match with a kill.
"The key was our serving and our hustling," Boyle said. "We were diving, hustling and chasing shanked balls."
Morton (9-17) didn't even win the Great Lakes Athletic Conference and was an underdog throughout the season. Thus, fourth-year coach Boyle, who has a sectional title at Bishop Noll on her resume, told the team it had nothing to lose.
"We had to believe that anything was possible," Johnson said. "I felt like I had to play smart, not only for me but for my fellow teammates so we could finish it."
Munster made sure the upset count stayed at one. The Mustangs (28-7) were too much for the Cougars.
Of Munster's 75 points, 35 were service aces. Jamie Rogalski and Mady Moyer had 10 each, and Shannon Farrell added seven.
"We were focused on aggressive serving," Munster coach Tracy Afman said. "It was nice to see the girls do that as well as stay consistent at the same time."