Since the playoffs began, the Evanston girls volleyball team has been playing as if there was no tomorrow. In their first Regional game, the Wildkits beat Von Steuben High School with scores of 25-21 and 25-14. Ali Gossen had 8 kills, Hannah Folz, 4 kills, Traci Spacek 4 blocks and Delaney Clesen had 3 aces to lead the Kits.
Going into Regionals the Kits had a 23-10 record and earned themselves the top seed. The Kits also had the luxury of playing on their home court throughout the Regional round. In the championship round of Regionals, the Kits beat Maine East two games to one on Nov. 1. The scores were 22-25, 25-7, 25-15.
At the Highland Park Sectionals, the Kits played their archrival New Trier on Nov. 6. The Kits beat the Trevians in three games — winning 25-19, 25-22 and losing13-25 — to reach the IHSA Elite Eight.
Their next opponent was Fremd High School in the Class 4A Super-sectionals on Nov. 8 at Mundelein High School. This is only the second time the Kits’ girls volleyball team has made it to the Super-sectional round. Folz had 24 assists and Megan McCareins had a match-high eight kills and Elly Knepper had seven. The Kits won their match against Fremd, 25-17 and 27-25, and earned themselves a Super-sectional championship and a berth in the State tournament in Normal, Ill., at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena. This is the first time in school history the Kits have been in the Final Four in girls volleyball.
Going into the season, the Kits were confident in their ability to be a solid team; it was just a matter of staying confident throughout the entire year, said senior Elly Knepper: “Even before tryouts we knew that we’d be a strong, competitive team, and starting off our season with a 9-0 record only enforced that our only problem was our confidence, which lost us a few games that we could have easily won. I can’t say everyone was expecting to go downstate, but the fact that we’ve been able to finally come together with a lot more confidence has made the difference in our success.”
The Kits (29-10) will play St. Charles East (36-4) on Nov. 14 in the state semifinal. If they win, they will play the winner of Mother McAuley and Benet Academy on Nov. 15. If the Kits play as they have throughout the playoffs, they have a chance at the state title.