Pleasant Plains capitalizes on momentum shifts, knocks Macomb out in sectional semifinals


Macomb's Madeline McClure hits a shot through the block of Pleasant Plains during Monday night's Class 2A sectional semifinal in Pleasant Plains, Ill. | Matt Schuckman photo

PLEASANT PLAINS, Ill. — The Pleasant Plains volleyball team figured out how to continually stem the tide.

During Monday night’s Class 2A sectional semifinal against Macomb, the Cardinals strategically used timeouts to stall scoring runs by the Bombers, putting the brakes on a four-point swing late in the second set that enabled Pleasant Plains to finish off a 25-21, 25-21 victory.

“They did a great job of executing after timeouts,” Macomb coach Briana Rexroat said. “Once she called a timeout, it was hard for us to keep the momentum going.”

It happened a couple times too often.

In the opening set, Macomb blitzed to a 6-2 lead, only to have Pleasant Plains call a timeout. In a blink, the set was tied at 8. The Cardinals built a 19-14 lead, only to see the Bombers score six of the next seven points to knot the set at 20.

Pleasant Plains took a timeout and scored five of the next six points to win the set.

“It really is a game of momentum,” Rexroat said.

In the second set, Macomb bolted to a 7-3 lead before a timeout once again stalled everything. Pleasant Plains answered with a 10-point run and eventually led 22-16 before Macomb put together a four-point run on Emily Westerhold’s serve, forcing another timeout.

The Bombers scored the next point, but a kill by the Cardinals’ Sydney McAfee down the line ended the threat.

“We had some good starts to both sets, but the momentum changed,” Rexroat said. “Sometimes it’s tough to get back.”

The Bombers fought to get it back throughout the match.

“This team had some of the most grit of any team I’ve ever coached,” Rexroat said. 

Macomb ends its season with a 27-10 record, while Pleasant Plains (29-9) advances to face Illini West in the sectional championship match at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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