“I’m giving them an opportunity, and they have been able to break out that funk.’’
One of the big factors in the Schlarman comebacks in both the first and second set was Marion, who finished with a team-high nine kills.
“It was a good night,’’ Marion said. “I just played my game and I fed off the vibe from my team.’’
While Marion didn’t want to take any credit for her night, her coach was quick to sing the praises of the senior outside hitter.
“She was on fire,’’ Crane said. “She was moving the ball all over the place. She was just getting on top of it.
“She might be one of the shortest girls with the biggest vertical leap that I’ve seen. She has been very consistent all year for us. When we need her to step up, she pulls through.’’
Marion also had four assists and seven digs for the Hilltoppers. Senior Jordan Marganski had a team-high 12 assists to go along with two blocks, while Laura Gross had eight kills, six assists and seven digs. Sophomore Shelbi Mascari had a team-high 11 digs, followed by Sierra Bell with eight. Junior Joslyn Dietzen had three aces and 11 service points.
“Our focus all year has been on the postseason,’’ Crane said. “We wanted to just keep getting better and to keep pushing for our goals.
“We’re one step closer to that goal tonight.’’
Schlarman Academy advances to Saturday’s Mt. Pulaski Super-Sectional where the Hilltoppers will be the Sciota West Prairie Cyclones in a 6 p.m. match.
West Prairie defeated Mt. Pulaski, a two-time Class 1A state runnerup, 25-20, 28-30, 25-21 in the sectional championship match at Hartsburg-Emden on Thursday night.
The Cyclones (29-6-2) are making their third trip to the super-sectionals and West Prairie took fourth in the 2008 state tournament.