FARMER CITY, Ill. -- After playing in six consecutive three-game matches, Blue Ridge hosted a Flanagan-Cornell team that entered Farmer City with a 1-10 Heart of Illinois Conference record.
Predictably, the Lady Knights made short work of the Lady Falcons, picking up a 25-14, 25-9 victory on Senior Night.
"I thought we had our best pre-game warm-up of the year, and why not on Senior Night," Blue Ridge coach Evan Miles said. "The seniors played well. It’s always nice to get the win, especially against a conference school."
Fittingly, it was two seniors who manufactured the final point of the match for the Lady Knights. Kasey Sedberry's assist set up Kaitlyn Zelhart for the match-clinching spike.
Sedberry (No. 24, pictured above), who plans on studying elementary education at a college to be determined, also gave Blue Ridge a 3-1 lead in the second game via serve.
Sedberry finished the match with four digs, one ace, two assists and four service points.
"I can always count on Kasey to give me a top job in the little things," Miles said. "She deserved tonight’s play all the way around."
Kaitlyn Zelhart (pictured above), who will study physical therapy at Jacksonville State in Alabama, finished the Senior Night match with eight kills, nine digs, three aces and nine service points.
In the second game, she increased Blue Ridge's lead to 5-2, 6-2, 8-2 and 12-2 via serves. After her little sister Emily (pictured below) gave Blue Ridge a 19-7 lead with an untouched spike, Kaitlyn got the next point with a spike so powerful that it knocked Flanagan-Cornell's Amy Kuebler backwards.
"We only have three [seniors], and they stuck it out for four years, so it just shows their passion, enthusiasm and credibility for the sport," Miles said.
Despite an injury to her left ankle, Jordan Wheeler made an appearance serving during the first game.
Wheeler, who looks to transfer to the University of Illinois or Illinois Wesleyan after attending Parkland College and study accounting, came into the match with Blue Ridge leading 11-6.
Wheeler's two serves helped increase the Lady Knights' lead to 13-6. The last of those two serves resulted in a point via Gabby Pearl block.
As a result of her appearance, Wheeler (pictured above) finished the match with two service points.
"It was kind of sketchy whether we were going to do that or not until the last minute," Miles said. "She’s a four-year volleyball player and at least a 2-3 year varsity letter winner in volleyball, so she deserved it."
The seniors were not the only ones contributing to Blue Ridge's victory over the Lady Falcons. The Lady Knights scored five consecutive points to increase a 5-3 lead in the first game to 10-3.
The 10th point was scored with an Amber Blazek (No. 20, pictured above) kill that deflected off a Flanagan-Cornell player. Blazek also scored the 25th point of the first game with a tap over the net.
Emily Zelhart finished the match with eight assists, three aces and six service points.
Jessica Schrock (No. 14, pictured below) contributed seven service points. Pearl (No. 26, pictured below) had one solo block.
With the win, Blue Ridge finishes the regular season with a 20-5 record overall and is 9-3 in the HOIC. The Lady Knights will play in the McLean County Tournament beginning on Tuesday.
"We’re not going to try to rush Jordan back too soon, but maybe towards the end of next week or regionals, hopefully she’ll be ready to go," Miles said.
Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge junior varsity team won its last match of the season, beating Flanagan-Cornell 25-13, 25-11. The Lady Knights end their JV season with a record of 13-11 overall and 5-7 in the conference.