FLOSSMOOR | That fateful "M" word in volleyball either helps you or hurts you.
Momentum helped Homewood-Flossmoor on Tuesday night in the Class 4A Homewood-Flossmoor Regional semfinal.
The Vikings rebounded from a first-set loss and went on the beat T.F South 17-25, 25-18, 25-18 to advance to Thursday's regional final. H-F faces No. 1 seed Mother McAuley.
"Momentum got us tonight," South coach Kim Sands said. "We didn't have the runs they did in the second game. We were out of our rhythm and got stuck. We couldn't pull out of it."
South put H-F on its heels in the first set, however, setting the tone with an ace to start the game, followed by a net violation and a hitting error.
The Rebels (22-9) built a 19-14 lead, courtesy of back-to-back kills by Crystal Lee and a block kill by Bri Lilly. South capitalized on Viking errors to win the set.
"Absolutely, momentum is the game of volleyball," H-F coach Tony Kruse said. "They had it the first game. That ace to start the game set the tone. But the switches we made gave us a spark."
The Vikings fed off several South unforced errors and two straight aces by Evelyn Weidman to give H-F a 12-9 lead in the second set.
Then 6-foot-2 middle Kandace Tate came off the bench and gave the Vikings a lift they needed.
"She had started for us most of the season, but we needed a lineup change," Kruse said. "When she came in the second game she gave us a spark with a block and a kill."
Weidman put away several kills in the second set, running quicks out of the middle that South couldn't defend.
"Evelyn does a great job switching things up, hitting from the right or left," Kruse said. "She knows how to pace the ball."
H-F carried its momentum into the third set and never let the Rebels take a lead.
Kaitlyn Shereyk was a big reason for that. The senior outside hitter pounded out five kills in the final set and added a block kill. She finished with 13 kills.
"After the first game, I told them they had to step up their game," Kruse said. "Kaitlyn took it to heart. She led us in the second and third games. We could always count on her for a kill."
In the first semifinal, Mother McAuley beat T.F. North 25-9, 25-7.
"When we played Thornwood, they were more comparable," T.F North coach Peg Haney said. "We were intimidated tonight. We never settled into playing our game."