RICHTON PARK | Illiana Christian held off a late rally by Queen of Peace Thursday night and went on the win the Class 3A Rich South Regional title 25-13, 25-22.
The title is the fourth straight for the Vikings and fourth for head coach Nikki Van Dyke.
Despite the rally, the Vikings (20-16) never lost control.
"We talked in our devotional at practice yesterday about not letting worry or fear get to us," Van Dyke said.
A Tina Massey kill made it 20-15 in the second set, causing Queen of Peace to call a timeout.
Massey came back with another kill as Illiana seemed to keep momentum.
But an Illiana service error breathed life into Queen of Peace and the Pride rolled off three points to make it 22-19. After an Illiana timeout, Queen of Peace scored on a kill off Illiana's block, making it 23-22.
Jaime Petrarcac responded with two straight kills to give the Vikings the victory.
Petrarcac finished with eight kills -- including a block kill -- in the second set and Massey added six kills.
"We had a fabulous practice yesterday," Van Dyke said. "We scrimmaged for an hour and played our best defense."
That defense came through Thursday. Libero Rachel Herrera had five digs and Massey had seven digs. Senior middle Kylie VanRoekel and Petrarcac each had four blocks.
"I gave the players a cheat sheet of three things to look for against Queen of Peace," Van Dyke said. "It really prepares them and gives them confidence going into the match."
In the first set, Illiana dominated the Pride. Massey served seven straight points to finish out the set, 25-13.
VanRoekel had a tip kill on an overpass, a kill out of the middle from a quick set and a block stuff kill during that run.
"We were nervous coming in but coach encouraged us at practice and told us to believe in ourselves," Tessa Vant Hoff said. "We had beaten them earlier but they were missing two of their best hitters then."